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Raise Your Dues So We Can Turn the Titanic?
Heard on the street (and on the phone, and during and in-person conversation, and by text….) IFs and THENs: If [the healthcare system] was just ______, then ______ ! You’ll have your own variations to fill in there, like: If healthcare was less expensive, then more people could get care! If doctors would spend more time with me, then I could get my questions answered! If insurance would just cover it, then my client could get the treatment she needs! If there were more specialists to cover my ailment, then I wouldn’t have to wait so long for an appointment! …. and the list goes on and on. In the 15 years I’ve been working in patient empowerment and advocacy, I have been asked hundreds of times to work on fixing those kinds of problems. I’ve been invited to Washington, DC. I’ve been asked to sit on committees, I’ve been hired as a consultant… However! Once I started The Alliance of Professional Health Advocates in 2009, I determined that I would not work on such issues anymore. Period. Why? Those are all policy issues. They are mostly only affected by changes in laws or large systems. Because in the United States, the only changes that ever take place in the healthcare system require one to follow-the-money. If the system can’t extract more money for it, or save itself money, then it probably isn’t going to happen. Cynical much? Yes. Most certainly. But rooted in reality. So why do I raise this point today? I’ve been contacted by two different groups in the last few weeks to work on policy in Washington. I was asked because, with my track record, and with APHA’s growing membership roster behind me, I could provide some clout that the requesting group could use. And, again, I said no. That is not where my efforts are going to be spent. But it’s important I share this perspective, and the reasoning behind it with you – thus this post. Because those of you who are interested in these things, and especially those who are working in advocacy,…