Sunday, April 19, 2009

More on Universal Health Care

(Follow-up to

Universal Health-Care Insurance–The Wrong Health Debate

It seems that health care is the domestic hot topic this campaign season, with all of the focus being on rising costs of service and providers dictating what they will and will not pay for and how much in patient treatments.

There is no doubt that all of that is a large issue. But it is getting the cart far before the horse. That issue of health insurance is just a symptom of a larger health care problem. Other symptoms include obesity, the flood of pharmaceuticals, pollution, overwhelmed emergency rooms, the growing controversy over vaccines, and a slew of others.

The problem I’m talking about, and the problem that our aspiring political candidates *should* be talking about, is our general health.

After all, common sense dictates that if we as a nation are healthier then our need for the comprehensive health insurance that everyone is talking about becomes less and less.

First, a disclaimer up front. I have health insurance. I have good health insurance provided by my employer. But it doesn’t make me healthy. All it does is make me better able to cover the costs of getting unhealthy.

I recently just got over a nasty cold. I didn’t go to the doctor and I didn’t go to the emergency room, and I didn’t use my health insurance to treat it. I used over-the-counter remedies, both allopathic and homeopathic as well as dietary.

And therein is the problem. Addressing health insurance problems doesn’t address true health promotion, but rather paying for *bad health*. It’s treating the illness rather than working to prevent it in the first place. And that’s where the *real* debate, and the real solutions, lie.

We own our bodies, our minds, and our souls, and we have a responsibility to ourselves and to those around us and close to our hearts to take care of ourselves and those around us. Our bodies are actually complex machines that require good maintenance and materials in order to operate efficiently and correctly. To be sure, our genetics have an influential role, but even more so do our actions. What we eat, drink, breathe, and do greatly influence how we live and how healthy we are.

Let’s assume government is the solution for the moment. It’s a lousy assumption, considering its past track record, but let’s run with it. If government wants to really address the health care problem, it needs to start at the sources of our health, or lack thereof, and work to improve those for our benefit.

Our air is polluted with smog and chemicals, and the technology exists to make it better. Government can help there by providing incentives to industries to clean the air by becoming more green, installing smokestack scrubbers (for example), and in general promoting less pollutive practices through tax credits while punishing more pollutive practices through tax penalties. Government can provide tax credits to consumers for being more green as well, be it by planting trees to clean the air, carpooling, and so on. Government can plan for and implement more open space as well, with green belts to help the trees.

Our water is much the same as the air. Water is our life and our future and we need to be careful with it now so we have that future. We don’t need hot- and cold-running sludge. Government can encourage preserving and restoring the wetlands that filter that water, plus helping to develop desalinization plants to add more water resources. Government can also encourage through tax credits better water treatment and penalize bad treatment.

Our food supply is in bad shape. Our soils are exhausted, their nutritive elements leached out by overuse and replaced by chemical fertilizers, resulting in inferior food products that need fortification with vitamins and minerals. GMO foods are not the answer and are an unknown health risk. Government can help by promoting soil replenishment and natural agricultural practices, crop rotation based on soil needs rather than market forces, a reduction in petroleum-based pesticides and herbicides (which can cause cancer) and fertilizers, and getting our meat out of the feedlot and back on the range. More certified organic food and unprocessed raw foods into consumer diets will help, but that means more time at home to cook, which means less time at work, which means more take-home pay and government can help that by cutting income taxes.

Our bodies can be improved with vitamin supplements, good nutrition, and boosts and balances to our immune systems. Alternative treatments such as Chinese medicine, herbalism, homeopathy, and naturopathy should be encouraged and promoted as a means to make us healthy, not derided. Vaccines are a poor attempt at homeopathy and wind up being nothing more than poisons.

Better yet, we can do all of this without government involvement, through informed choice and the free market.

We have the motivation and we ultimately have the power. In today’s age we have unprecedented access to the needed information to take the right steps. The rest is up to us getting off our fat butts, being responsible for ourselves, and making it happen.

So what are we waiting for?

1 comment:

The Mudslinger said...