One major reason why healthcare reform will fail.

About 30% of healthcare dollars in America are spent in the last year of life. That’s $800 billion spent per year on dying. Dying people in America are cash cows for hospitals and doctors and the rest of the medical industrial complex.

The cost of healthcare in America is strongly tied to our cultural fear of death and our doctor-led belief that modern medicine can save us. And there’s no way to “fix” this cost problem because it goes to the root of what it means to be human in America. The cost of our healthcare isn’t just due to expensive technology and new drugs, it’s due to the fact that we believe our own existence is priceless, personal, and within our control– not part of something larger, like a society of people who depend on the future economic sustainability of our country.

Politicians can’t fix this. Sarah Palin has already trademarked “death panels.” The AARP and their political power depends on the olds. Talking about the business of dying is political suicide. 

So can we as a society fix this? That’s a good question. We need to have a massive conversation about this, and it won’t be organized by our leaders. It’s unsexy, serious, emotional, and sad, but its got to happen.