They are standing on the balconies, applauding loud into the darkness of the winterish evenings. The American Wave spreads over various countries during Covid-19. While the invisible enemy was fought, the audience applauded for its soldiers. If Covid-19 taught us anything, it was to thank our health care workers and feel the urgency of a dedicated health care system.
Covid-19 has confronted with the crucial role of health care. In these five articles I take you over five questions we have to ask about health care for the post-Corona world. Today: does health care have any other rewards than money?
- Must governments invest in Health Care?
- Is Health a Marketable Good?
- Does health care reward in the long-term, other than in terms of money?
- Do we need a globalised health care system, such as the World Health Organisation?
- Are health care workers heroes?
Yesterday,I discussed how health care should not be measured in terms of immediate economic gains solely.Moreover, health care should be affordable, accessible and reliable to all. Therefore, it is declared as a fundamental Human Right, and as one of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development’ goals.
Short-term Pain, Long-term Gain
Health is a basic condition for wealth. Yesterday I explained how a health and socio-economic conditions are interlinked. Worsened health can lead to a worsened socio-economic position and vice versa.
Therefore, if countries really want to advance and care about their people, they have the moral obligation to invest in a decent health care system.
These investments might not result in immediate economic gains, but they will benefit the entire society in the long term.
As we have seen under Covid-19: people who take medical risks, put the health care system under avoidable pressure. By doing so, they might take away the necessary care for someone who is in medical need.
Especially in countries where the health care system is public, and all inhabitants contribute economically, the costs might increase unnecessary if people don’t take care of their health in the first place.
Investment & Cost
Not only does a healthy population requires less costs, it is as well a happier, more energetic and more productive population. This does lead to increasing economic profits in the long-term, if we still want to talk about the economic card.
One might not immediately see the rewards of health, but we do see the immediate costs of illness, ask Covid-19 which is estimated to cause the global economy USD$ 1 trillion in 2020 according to the UN’s trade and development agency.
Covid-19 is estimated to cost the global economy US$ 1 trillion.
Prevention & Resilience
The reward of the investment would be even bigger in the long term, if you invest wise and in certain categories.
Therefore, the entire health care system should start with prevention. Not only the prevention of the outbreak of a pandemic, but that is for next blog post, but as well the prevention of the outbreak of a disease in one single person.
This can be achieved by creating overall health-facilitating conditions, such as accessible and affordable healthy food, a safe environment to exercise, both in terms of traffic as well as crime, and the absence of air pollution among other basic conditions which might look obvious for some, but are even unthinkable for others.
Moreover, a better basic health, makes people more resilient to recover from disease or injury.
Prevention & Curing
Even when someone’s health is at risk, important savings can still be made by digging to the roots of the problem, rather than smoothening symptoms. One might react surprised now, expecting that this is the normal way of business, but it is not always the case.
I’ve been for instance through certain health issues in my life to which the first medical care would prescribe me long term medication and/or treatment, but won’t be able to explain me the cause of my condition.
In all cases, I kept looking for the real cause, found it, treat it, and was all recovered, without any of those long-term medication and/or treatment.
They would have smoothened my symptoms, but keep it bad enough so I would become dependent on the treatment.
If they would have dug to the roots, and solve the problem from the start, I wouldn’t need this long-term treatment, and hence running costs at all. A quick survey teaches me that I’m not the only one.
‘I poison my body if I want to’
For those stubborn people who think ‘I poison my body if I want to’, please be aware that in most countries the entire society is bearing the economic costs of your short-term and selfish thinking. In case of Covid-19, it was immediately clear how risk takers spread the virus and caused unnecessary deaths and diseases; while in other cases the entire society might pay for the increased pressure on the health care system by risk behaviour.
Some countries already attacked this problem by introducing a so-called health tax: unhealthy products have a higher tax rate to facilitate healthier choices. If these taxes would be invested in making the healthy products more affordable and accessible and in healthcare, than we would be on the good way for a long-term healthy population with minimal costs and optimal gains of all kind.
Beyond and Above
Historically, is the example of Costa Rica, the small but pioneering Central American nation that had chosen 70 years go to abolish its army and invest that budget in health care and education. Not only is Costa Rica now one of the only countries in the world without an army, it is as well the Central American country with the highest quality of health care, the lowest crime rate, and the highest education rate.
Costa Rica is one of the few countries without an army.
To top of the good news flow on Costa Rica: it is as well one of the countries that was has one of the highest adoption rates for renewable energy. In 2017 as well as in 2019, the country run for over 300 days per year on renewable energy solely (for electricity production). (Read more on my blog posts on “Renewable Energy in Central America, a future created in the past).
Closer home, in western countries various countries have invested in public health care, and have a social care system, in which medical costs are calculated compared to one’s effective income.
This kind of health care systems is not only about keeping the population healthy, it is as well about breaking inequality. Health issues can pull people into poverty, keep them in poverty, and prevent them for getting out again. On the other hand, one with better economic means might have access to better health care, and hence a lower chance to fall off in the poverty cycle.
Health is a basic condition for wealth.
Therefore, the short-term public investment in health care, will result in long term overall wealth of the population.
If health is such an important basic condition, we might start thinking in our globalised world, if we need kind of a globalised health care system as well. Especially when it comes to tackling a global pandemic. But that is for next post.
This article is part of the series of Hope in Times of Corona. Read
- How this too shall pass
- how this times of self-isolation should not mean loneliness,
- how you can contribute to this battle,
- how gratitude lights up the dark,
- how united we will stand strong
- on the most util strategy in awake of a crisis
- how I got blown of my feet as well, but caught by many caring hands,
- how being calm can get us through the storm.
- about Love in Times of Corona
- how to discover your own talents
- why we need stories to hold on to
- how you can be creative and innovative.
- how to spend your mot valuable assets in times of Corona.
- how to listen to the sound of silence.
- How breath taking Corona really is.
- discover the other freedoms Corona has shown us,
- about the new-born freedom Corona gave us.
- about another way to exceed your personal bubble.
- about the position of nature in this entire story
- about nature bouncing back
- about the crucial choice between resilience and resistance
- about the game to play
- about star gazing in dark times
- About looking for Meaning
- About how Music Connects
- about what Easter and Corona have in Common
- About the Shark and the Turtle
- About the Irony of Distance
- Why to Hold on
- Fake News
- about The Big Unknown we live at
- about Feeling Alive
- About turning obstacles into opportunities
- about what the Birthday of my nephew learned me about life
- About where we should go from here?
- About coping with incertitude
- About the Great War and the Great Pandemic, and we should not forget
- about history’s most important message, echoed by corona
- How one country could rule them all
- About how to prevent the next Green Pandemic
- about how we are experiencing a new episode of our history books
- about when the poppy flowers
- about what’s in a number
- masks off, how a friend in need is a friend indeed
- What’s Next. after we flattened the curve?
- how will our personal story look like in a post-corona world?
- why we should never let a good crisis go too waste.
- How Spring can happen in Autumn
- How to unlock the lockdown
- Why education matters
- How we can give meaning to the meaningless deaths. (rethink health care)
- The remarkable marketability of health, or not?
Or wait until tomorrow, when I’ll shine another light on yet another positive corner of this dark times.
 Not convinced? Watch Supersize Me or just get yourself for one week up and running on healthy food, exercise, stress-reduction, and other basics for your health, and you might be surprised how energised you will feel.