You don’t have to look at the calendar to know it’s July 4th weekend. From blow-out sales at auto dealerships to a deal hotter than your grill on a laptop or TV, it’s pretty clear we are breaking out the party hats for the birthday of our nation.

Typically, people complain about the commercialization of holidays. Black Friday now starts on Thursday and Christmas sale pop-ups start making it through our firewalls in September . Getting a deal this weekend on a new grill is about as American as broad stripes and bright stars.

In the spirit of all this, it’s only logical to talk about how savvy the Chinese are when it comes to getting great value in receiving healthcare. That’s right. China. While the average American patient in need of an orthopaedic implant has absolutely no clue of the options available, doctors in China discuss implant options, cost and outcomes with their patients routinely. In Communist China, patients have an implant choice to make that affects their quality of life and cost of care. The choices they have are a page out of a textbook on winning American consumers – with variety based on quality and cost. This story was recently unfurled for us during a meeting with the chief of surgery at a prestigious institution. He had done some work there and recounted patient meetings he attended, with a quizzical look, as though there was an element of disbelief for what he had seen.

So, let’s be a little more American about US healthcare and follow the Chinese. While changes addressing the current state of healthcare in the US are surfacing, we still have to ask the tough questions of those providing our care like we do the mechanic about our car or the plumber about our pipes. It’s your right to ask questions and it’s your right to demand the best value for your healthcare dollars.

No taxation without representation. Don’t tread on me. Your tea, my harbor. It all adds up to the first Americans putting their foot down and saying they deserve better. On July 4th, 1776, we signed a letter stating that we are going to do it better and for ourselves with accountability, equality and transparency. America is founded on the principle of standing up for what’s right. As a country, we need to remind ourselves of that when it comes to healthcare spend. Nowhere in the world do markets work better, although Chinese orthopaedic surgeons might beg to differ. Food for thought that’ll make a great side for your tube steak this weekend.

We wish our families, friends and partners a safe and happy holiday weekend. Happy Birthday, America!

 
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