Ah, yes, it's a presidential election year. OH, we Americans LOVE those election years, don't we? No, of course we don't. Because we have better things to do than try and decipher whether what the candidates are saying is fact or fiction...When we all know that 95% of it is fiction.
So, in honor of the election year that is upon us, I thought I would throw in my two cents on how to fix the healthcare system in the United States. Call me crazy, call me a dreamer, whatever.
Our US health system is based on treating people AFTER they're sick. AFTER they've developed diabetes. AFTER they've suffered a heart attack. AFTER they've been stricken with cancer.
For those of you keeping track at home, the number one killer of both men and women in our country is heart disease. Why heart disease? Because we have too MUCH food. Too MUCH fast food. Too MUCH fat, and too much cholesterol in the foods we do eat. Too little fresh fruits and vegetables in our diets. Too much smoking. ENTIRELY too many people leading sedentary lifestyles.
But...I digress. So, back to healthcare.
What if we treated people BEFORE they got sick? What if we started educating children in the schools about healthy lifestyles and good nutrition? (Yes, I know we do that now, but not nearly enough. I read so much about schools taking PE out of curriculums in order to focus more attention on the TAKS.) What if our corporate world started programs to help its employees exercise during the day? Did you know that Nike allows employees an hour (paid!) out of their workday if they'll use it to work out? And their healthcare costs have decreased as a result. What if our insurance companies began to start paying a certain amount each year for personal trainers and dieticians? Or maybe even medically-based weight loss programs (not talking about weight-loss surgery here) BEFORE people get to be at least 100 lbs. overweight? What about smoking cessation programs? What if we, as a country, finally got mad enough to tell the fast food places to shape up or ship out when it comes to high fat foods. (How 'bout Whataburger's triple meat, triple cheese burger with a whopping 1120 calories and 68 grams of fat?) You know, if people weren't BUYING those foods, Whataburger wouldn't sell them. But people don't know. They aren't educated about proper nutrition. They don't understand how food makes their bodies work.
I'd be interested in seeing what YOU think. Do you think that more of an emphasis on preventative healthcare would make a difference in our skyrocketing healthcare costs? Do you think it would make a difference in the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer? Tell me what you think!
And, perhaps more importantly, would you take advantage of preventative healthcare if it were offered to you? Would you take an hour away from your desk job to work out if you even got PAID to do it? Would you stop smoking if there were low-cost or no-cost programs made available to you? Would you work out with a trainer if you just had to pay a co-pay or visit with a dietician to help you learn to feed yourself and your family better, more nutritionally-dense foods?