Healthcare is weird. The focus is almost entirely on treatment and not at all on prevention. Billions of dollars would likely be saved if we switch that focus. And that leads us to the air conditioner story. The air conditioner story is a story that Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber loves to tell. It’s pithy and gets to the heart of the U.S. healthcare problem. Here is the air conditioner story: There’s this 90 year old woman with a well managed congestive heart condition and she lives in an apartment with no air conditioner.
That’s it. That’s the story. The point being that high temperatures are not good for a 90 year old woman with a congestive heart condition. On a 100 degree day, healthcare will pay tens of thousands of dollars for the ambulance and the emergency room visit and any followups that are required when that woman has a heart event but it won’t pay $200 to get her a window air conditioning unit that would likely have prevented the event.
Pretty awesome story, huh? Watch Oregon. Great things are happening to change healthcare for the better.