What I want for Christmas [in Health Care]

We are in a season for dreaming and child-like wonder.

It is also a period of uncertainty about what changes are coming to health care in the next few years, so I thought I might as well enlist Santa’s help in getting what I think would be an exceptional health care delivery system for our country.

Dear Santa:

What I want for Christmas is a health care system that works for everyone- all of us.

Here’s a detailed wish for Christmas morning:

  • Give every child born in this country the health care they need to grow up healthy and capable of fulfilling their dreams. Let’s have them be doctors, artists, entrepreneurs and successful business people. Let’s have them contribute back to our country with their talents and their taxes.
  • While we are at it- let’s have those kids have access to healthy food too. Health care doesn’t work without it.
  • Mental health resources available in every town and community across the country, please- so when people have tough times (as healthy people do), they get support that will help them get through those periods intact.
  • For those that will need a higher degree of mental health intervention, bring access to comprehensive long-term care and crisis intervention for people with mental illness, or who are battling depression, especially those who might be suicidal-
  • While you are here Christmas Eve, please take all the stigma attached to mental illness back with you!
  • Could we get universal access to addiction counseling and rehabilitation programs also, please? Available when people need it, where they need it, and at no cost? [Hey, you’re Santa- you will figure it out].
  • Oh! Given that the opioid epidemic is fueled primarily by drugs that started as legal prescriptions- could you bring us better interventions for pain? Stop the prevalence of narcotics in medical care?
  • Speaking of prescription drugs- I would like to see antibiotics used only when necessary so by next Christmas “Super Bugs” are a nightmare of the past.
  • Let’s all age in our homes! Please bring us excellent community resources so each of us can stay in place as we find our abilities diminishing. Leave the very best skilled nursing facilities intact but be sure they don’t cut us off from our communities, OK?
  • And speaking of dying- let’s have that be OK too when it’s time. Can you give us lots of loving, supportive palliative care access, so our last months are not fraught with pain and loss of control?
  • Excellent emergency care in a timely fashion on every block on every street in the country, period.
  • Please also bring protections for our rural hospitals- let people get the best care they can close to home- and have referrals available to larger hospitals for more specialized care based on the patient’s medical need, not money- OK?
  • And of course, you will wipe out all the diseases we already have in our power to eradicate with universal immunization.
  • Lastly, public funding as necessary for excellence in scientific research to find the key to Alzheimer’s, Cancer, and musculoskeletal diseases will round out my list.

That should do it, for now, Santa. At least for this next year.

But if I could add one more thing- and this is a big one even you might not be able to bring- could we get politics out of American Health Care?

I sure appreciate you trying.

Thanks, Santa-