Monday, September 17, 2012

There is No Health Care in the United States

As I continue to observe people with incredibly poor diets living unhealthy lifestyles with very little attention to exercise, I've concluded that there is very little health care in this country.  People are not taking care of their health - and they are absolutely shameless about it.  Currently, Americans seem to be completely up in arms about the health care crisis - whether that means access or costs.  But there is little talk about the role personal responsibility plays in this area.

Roughly, 80% of health care spending the in United States - that's eight out of every ten health care dollars - goes to treat chronic illnesses that can be completely or predominantly treated with diet, exercise, and lifestyle changes.  Hypertension, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, joint problems, back problems, type-2 diabetes and all the associated liver and kidney problems:  these are all  lifestyle diseases.

If Americans would cut out the sodas and unhealthy snacks, walk thirty minutes a day, and weight trained a couple times a week, America's health care costs could be cut dramatically.  Dare I say, we could cut wasteful "health care" spending in half.  Medicare and Medicaid would be in much better shape because we could be consuming far fewer services.  And, this should appeal to people of all status and ideology.  Personal responsibility needs to be part of the health care discussion.  And we all do have an interest (financial) in the eating and exercise habits of others.

As Michael Pollan says,

Eat food.
Mostly vegetables.
Not too much.

And take a walk.


Kody S. said...

People will only change when the pain of changing is less than the pain of keeping their same health habbits. That is not the way forward for Americans.

mmazenko said...

Well said, Kody. Insightful ... but also a bit disheartening. I'd guess there's not much hope that it gets better before it gets much worse.

Jordan Crawford said...

This is how I used this post in a debate round about universal health care. Thanks much!

mmazenko said...

Nice one, Jordan. Glad to be off service - and thanks for the compliment.