One of many many classes from the continued pandemic is that our whole nation should get actively concerned in healthcare. Every of us individually might help forestall the unfold of COVID-19, and all of us collectively can rework our healthcare system into one that forestalls sickness and helps individuals stay more healthy lives.
Within the wake of this month’s presidential election, the following administration might want to embrace an strategy to COVID-19 that acknowledges the significance of those completely different roles and the way, collectively, they create a greater healthcare system—and a more healthy future.
Not too long ago, the federal authorities’s Wholesome Folks 2030 framework documented how financial and social disparities are among the many largest obstacles to good well being. And knowledge from earlier than the pandemic, mixed with overwhelming proof of the pandemic’s disproportionate influence on communities of colour, present that good well being and high quality care are out of attain for a lot too many.
Making a stronger well being system begins with acknowledging this basic fact: Everybody has the suitable to be wholesome. Well being shouldn’t depend upon ZIP code, race, ethnicity or employment standing. Neither ought to it depend upon housing, training or financial stability. However in the present day, it does.
We should do higher.
Speak should give option to motion, with systemic modifications throughout the board—not incremental tweaks. Our nation wants a healthcare system that improves bodily, social and psychological well being by means of easy accessibility to high quality care and needed social companies.
Seizing this distinctive second to enhance American healthcare implies that healthcare suppliers, policymakers, insurance coverage firms and group leaders should be part of enterprise leaders, employers, educators, human service leaders and others in our communities and rethink how we assist individuals keep wholesome.
It means proactively tackling the underlying well being and social causes of poor well being—lengthy earlier than sickness begins. It means paying extra consideration to outcomes as a substitute of volumes. It means rethinking reimbursement in order that well being protection pays for well being and social companies that maintain individuals nicely.
And it means working constructively with the federal authorities.
Throughout CommonSpirit Well being and the 21 states we serve, we now have been working with group companions, lawmakers and well being officers to rethink how we promote well being, particularly among the many most disenfranchised.
Everybody wants to grasp basic a part of addressing the social determinants of well being is increasing entry to primary wants corresponding to inexpensive housing, wholesome meals and secure neighborhoods.
If lawmakers align well being coverage with a brand new strategy to tackling medical and social wants collectively, we will fulfill the promise of healthcare as a basic proper.
Our 4 ideas are easy to say however troublesome to realize. Which means the faster we begin, the extra we will obtain. “After COVID-19” might be too late. We should:
- Make healthcare accessible to all. A extra equitable healthcare system brings care to individuals as a substitute of ready for them to hunt care after they get sick.
- Deal with the social causes of poor well being, not simply the results. We will cut back well being disparities if we goal the underlying well being and social causes of poor well being as urgently as we deal with acute medical wants. Which means important investments in inexpensive housing and violence prevention initiatives.
- Champion common protection. Suppliers should stand firmly in assist of common protection for healthcare. Specifically, we should defend and increase Medicaid, broadening protection for psychological well being wants.
- Be sure that our healthcare workforce displays our communities. A simpler well being system requires a workforce that displays the individuals and the communities we serve.
It shouldn’t take a pandemic to open our eyes to the disparities that our healthcare system perpetuates. Now, we should meet this second. Step one is to acknowledge that well being is a primary human proper. Then, after we embrace huge concepts, new partnerships, and our shared humanity, we are going to lastly create a healthcare system worthy of this nation.