It doesn’t matter what kind of health insurance you possess. Whether it is personally purchased, employer or government provided, or mandated, there is not a policy in the world that will prevent a person from getting sick. Nor does it matter how good a policy a person possess; not even a “Cadillac” health insurance policy can keep a person well or prevent sickness. Nor does it matter how wealthy or poor a person is or how much money they have in the bank, there is no amount of money that can prevent a heart attack, stroke, cancer, diabetes, or any other illness. The phrase “health insurance” is actually a misnomer. An insurance policy does not ‘insure’ that you will stay well, because it can neither prevent sickness nor provide health to anyone. All a health insurance policy is designed to do is provide financial help in paying for treating a disease or sickness after it has occurred. This keeps health care providers and health insurance companies healthy, but not you.
Eat To Live - Not Live To EatEven with health insurance, I believe that the majority of people will take no more responsibility for their health than they have in the past, will pay no more attention to what they are eating than they have in the past,and will remain just as sick and diseased as they have been in the past. As we have discussed previously, most people “live to eat” instead of “eat to live.” And until every person takes responsibility for their own health, sickness and disease will continue to spread. Certainly, life will throw some curve balls. Accidents happen, bones are broken, and medical care is sometimes necessary. But, my friends, imagine how much less medical care would be needed if the scourges of cancer, diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke were just a distant memory!
Shifting America from Sick Care to Genuine WellnessIn 2009, when the Affordable Health Care Act was being debated before congress, Democrat Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) expressed his opinion in the June 25th issue of The Hill, a congressional newspaper published in Washington, D.C. He also wrote a previous article on the same topic in 2008. From these articles, Senator Harkin has said:
“With the Senate committee convening daily to craft a comprehensive health reform bill, the basic outline of this landmark legislation is now clear. Yes, it will ensure access to affordable, quality care for every American. But, just as important, it will hold down health care costs by creating a sharp new emphasis on disease prevention and public health. “As the lead Senator in drafting the Prevention and Public Health Section of the bill, I view this legislation as our opportunity to recreate America as a genuine wellness society – a society that is focused on prevention, good nutrition, fitness, and public health. The fact iswe do not have a health care system in the United States; we have a sick care system. If you’re sick, you get care, whether through insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, community health centers, emergency rooms, or charity. The problem is that this is all about patching things up after people develop serious illnesses and chronic conditions. “We spend a staggering $2.3 trillion annually on health care – 16.5 percent of our GDP and far more than any other country spends on health care – yet the World Health Organization ranks U.S. health care only 37th among nations, on par with Serbia. We spend twice as much per capita on health care as European countries, but we are twice as sick with chronic disease. “How can this be? The problem is that we have systematically neglected wellness and disease prevention. Currently in the United States, 95 percent of every health care dollar is spent on treating illnesses and conditions after they occur. But we spend peanuts on prevention. “No question, comprehensive health reform is an extraordinarily ambitious undertaking. But what makes me optimistic is that all the major groups are playing a constructive role, including those that opposed the 1993-94 health reform effort. Everyone agrees that the current system is broken. Winston Churchill famously said that ‘Americans always do the right thing – after they’ve tried everything else.’ “Well, we’ve tried everything else, and it has led us to bad health and the brink of bankruptcy. Comprehensive health reform legislation is our opportunity to change the paradigm. We are going to extend health insurance to every American. And we are going to give our citizens access to a 21st Century health care system – one focused on helping us to live healthy, active, happy lives.”