#79 Beyond Obamacare: Smart Fixes for the Healthcare System:Dr. Joe Habboushe

The U.S. spends more than $3 trillion a year on healthcare, or nearly $10,000 a year for every man, woman and child. But are we getting a bang for our buck? In many cases, the answer has to be no. And this goes well beyond the raging debate over Obamacare and whether all Americans should have access to coverage.

About a third of money spent on healthcare is now simply wasted or spent on poor decisions, says our guest, emergency room physician and entrepreneur, Dr. Joe Habboushe. The crisis includes clinical waste, excessive prices, fraud and bureaucracy.

 

Dr. Habboushe shares his moving personal story and passion for reducing waste and improving patient outcomes through his work as a physician and as CEO of MDCalc - an online diagnostic app used by about 50% of American doctors.

"Let's not get rid of what we do really well and that's drive innovation for the world," says Dr. Joe. "If we focus on waste, we have to look at why healthcare costs a lot and if we want to reduce that how can we do it in a way that doesn't damage our system.

Solutions:

  • Greater use of technology to help doctors improve decision-making.
  • Take a careful look at how much money, and intense care, is spent on the final months of life. In some cases, doctors and hospitals profit from treatment 
  • Government and taxpayers need to continue funding research that leads to potential drugs and breakthrough treatments.
  • Allow pharmaceutical companies to profit from new drugs and medical treatments that benefit patients.
  • Patients: Be better informed about successful medicine, which doesn't always mean a pill for every ailment.

#65 Moms Clean Air Force: Gretchen Dahlkemper

From "nap-time activists" and mommy bloggers to a "stroller march" on Washington, Moms Clean Air Force is using creative and highly effective ways to advance their cause to get dangerous pollutants out of the air. 

In this "How Do We Fix It?" episode we speak about solutions with the group's National Field Director, Gretchen Dahlkemper, a Pennsylvania mom who became an activist - fired up about the threat to her children's health.  Her daughter has asthma. So for her this campaign is personal. 

"I think the more that we connect the average citizen with their elected officials, the better off our entire system is going to be," says Gretchen. "We have forgotten that we can pick up the phone and call our elected officials."

Moms Clean Force fights back against climate change, fossil fuel, methane leaks and other healh problems. But this movement of mothers is about more than the environment and childrens' health.  It's also a way of revitalizing our democracy. 

"That to me is one of the key solutions to eliminating this huge partisan divide that we're seeing in the country right now," says Gretchen. 

#63 Obesity & Diabetes- One City's Solution: Dr. Rose Gowen

The obesity rate is 52% in Brownsville, Texas - far higher than the national average.  Nearly one in three residents has diabetes - three times the rate elsewhere.  Brownsville also has a very high rate of poverty where more half the residents are not covered by health insurance.

This city and other largely hispanic communities along the U.S. - Mexico border are facing a health emergency.

Brownsville decided to tackle the crisis head on, with an innovative mix of public initiatives - including a new farmer's market, many miles of bike lanes, changes to zoning regulations, and a community-wide health challenge. 

Our guest is obstetrician-gynecologist, Rose Gowen, a City Commissioner in Brownsville. We hear her personal story and what Brownsville is doing to transform itself into a more active, prosperous and healthy community.

"We have found here that even in the poorest among us they want to feel better and they want better for their family and they're willing to listen to options and ideas,"  says Rose.

"The difference that we've made is huge."