Why The Healthcare Industry Wants Us Sick

Why The Healthcare Industry Wants Us Sick

The healthcare industry is meant to help people maintain and improve their health.

Armies of nurses and doctors, cutting edge technology, and breakthrough procedures come together to create a well-oiled machine that helps heal the body, mend the mind, and cure disease and illness. That being said, is there a darker side to this industry where profits are prioritized over the well-being of patients? Even worse, is it possible that the healthcare industry wants you to be sick?

If you look at the numbers, it is clear that healthcare is Big Business in the United States.

Most recent data from 2021 shows that National Healthcare Expenditures grew to $4.3 trillion and accounted for 18.3% of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In 2022, the estimated revenue of the healthcare industry was $2829.6 billion. That is $2,829,600,000,000.

There is a LOT of money moving around the healthcare industry, and much of it is tied to the number of patients receiving treatment, medications, and procedures.

Let’s face it - sickness sells.

This means sick people are good for business because sick people need treatment. More treatments = more money. More money means there is a financial incentive to NOT promote preventative care because healthy people don’t require costly treatments.

What is preventative care?

Preventative care includes actions taken to maintain your physical and mental health and prevent illnesses before they occur. It involves engaging in healthy behaviors and receiving regular screenings and check-ups to maintain good health and detect any potential health problems early.

Preventative care is crucial for individuals of all ages and backgrounds, as it can reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and other health conditions, improving quality of life.

Preventative care works by identifying and addressing risk factors that can contribute to the development of illnesses. This can include maintaining a healthy diet, engaging in regular exercise, avoiding smoking and excessive alcohol consumption, getting enough sleep, and managing stress.

Preventative care is important. It can help to reduce healthcare costs by preventing the need for expensive treatments and hospitalizations. It saves time by not having to commute to and from the doctor’s office for appointments. It improves overall health outcomes and reduces the burden of chronic diseases on individuals and their families. Preventative care promotes healthy aging and allows individuals to maintain their independence and quality of life for longer.

Without a doubt, the healthcare industry is filled with good people who are in healthcare for all of the right reasons. There are plenty of people who genuinely care about their patients and want to help heal. However, they are pieces in a system that is designed to be reactive instead of proactive.

How is the system reactive instead of proactive? By promoting various types of treatments instead of ways to be healthy. The reason is simple: people who are healthy and well don’t need treatment.

Profits over patients.

Reactive care over preventative care.

Does the concept that the healthcare industry would place profits over patients sound far fetched?

Maybe, but it has happened before.  

The opioid epidemic gripping the United States was ignited in the mid 1990s. Purdue Pharma, an American pharmaceutical company, promoted a powerful painkiller called OxyContin. The FDA approved OxyContin after Purdue Pharma lied about how addictive OxyContin is and downplayed the risks. Sales grew from $48 million in 1996 to $1.1 billion in 2000 and Purdue Pharma paid kickbacks to medical providers who promoted Purdue Pharma products to patients.

The result? An opioid epidemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed millions of families. The fallout resulted in Purdue Pharma being dissolved through bankruptcy settlement and the Sackler family paying $4.5 billion in fines. Sounds like justice was served until you realize that Purdue Pharma made $10 billion from the sale of OxyContin alone, meaning that there is still billions of dollars of profit after the fines.

Okay, a one off case. Is there any other evidence that the healthcare industry is focused on profits instead of patients?

Yes, just follow the money.

A 2020 analysis of the top 10 largest pharmaceutical companies found that 7 of the 10 companies spend more money on selling and marketing than they did on research and development. The companies are more concerned with marketing and selling their products than they are with developing new solutions.

Companies need to make money to fund their research, but the amount of money made in the industry by getting you to use their products creates a financial incentive to keep you sick so you are a repeat customer. Why sell you a one-time solution to keep you healthy when the healthcare industry can sell a repeated solution treating the condition?

The modern medical system is focused on promoting treatments in response to disease, injury, and illness. The system treats people after they are already unwell instead of promoting health and wellness.

Last year, Big Pharma had $1.7 trillion worth of capital available for use. Not a penny of it was spent teaching you ways to improve your health and promote wellness.

Why would the industry want you to be healthy if it can profit off of you being sick?

It is challenging for studies into preventative care to receive funding for preventative care that keeps people healthy. Why?

Because the healthcare industry can’t capture the cold and resell it as a pill or a procedure.

Big players in the healthcare industry aren’t interested in you being healthy, they’re interested in selling you products.

Luckily, researchers around the world are overcoming these hurdles and are making breakthroughs in their own research. More and more medical professionals and scientific researchers are exploring preventative care methods and discovering a constantly expanding list of mental and physical benefits.

Danish scientists Dr. Susanna Søberg has done incredible work discovering the physical and mental benefits of cold and heat exposure through her thermalism research. Learn more about her thermalism work here.

Dr. Andrew Huberman, an American neuroscientist, regularly promotes preventative care like heat and cold exposure through his podcast.

More and more medical professionals and scientific researchers are uncovering new ways to promote health and wellness and are sharing these methods with more people every day. As the knowledge spreads, people will create healthier lives promoting overall wellness.

People deserve to be healthy.

You deserve to be healthy.

Start today. Embrace the cold.

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