I recently posted a piece on my thoughts regarding how current government policies pertaining to drugs may work if the American people were to re-instill the encouragement of true personal responsibility. If society at large would take a moment to stop blaming systems and others for their problems, and identify where they fit into the equation. How they may be a victim, I do not claim to know every individual case, but they are so much more than just that. As I got into it, my mind began to contemplate the other areas that might see benefit if our country took priority in individual actions – the responsibilities and accountability of each citizen.
Now, drugs were a huge one in my mind because they are that typical libertarian talking point: “let the people do drugs, it only affects them!” I agree with this to some degree, and I only sound tentative because I understand the arguments people propose against it. However, in a relativistic society, how are drugs to be deemed “bad” when a large portion of our population rejects the concept of a God? I think that this is an interesting topic for another time, as it brings into the question of “good and evil,” as well as respect for oneself. For now though, I would like to delve into a different government policy that may see benefits if people were to take their health into more consideration.
“Take their health into more consideration.” What a subjective and vague choice of words, you may be thinking. Let me break this down and explain that what I am saying goes beyond this health food consumerist age.
Many studies show Americans to be amongst the worst in terms of healthy lifestyles on the planet. The common trend that I find from these studies are people will either eat healthy but not live actively, or they will live actively but do not eat healthily. The problem here is pretty simple to see: we are not completing the puzzle in either scenario, and this very factor is why we often score so low on the global polls. With less than one-third of the average adult reaching even the bare minimum of weekly activity, it is no wonder there are activists seeking to have a National Healthcare Policy.
More Healthcare = more healthy people?
Do the claims of better healthcare equate to better health? Or is it that better overall health leads to the same amount of people paying in but less taking out? I believe that it is the latter, and I think the government understands this too. Even in this understanding, we find the politicians and activist groups claiming that it's the healthcare that will bring prosperity, not the other way around. Where is the disconnect then? I tend to believe the disconnect is somewhere between poor priorities and legal safety nets that incentivizing not caring.
On average, we see a disturbing amount of data points where Americans simply have their priorities in the wrong place. The decline of religion (I’m going to get hate for this one), trust in the mainstream media, debt awareness and quality of higher education (apart from STEM fields). Why would our priorities in health be any better? Then we see multiple legal loopholes and safety nets. Pre-existing conditions are waived, healthy living encouragement usually begins and ends with a pamphlet hand-out, and if all else fails, rely on the many other government programs to cover your bills.
It would appear that the more “social security” programs put into place, the direction in risks people will take shifts. Our American heritage thrived with no safety nets outside of family, friends, and once-upon-a-time the church; and look at what they accomplished with it. Knowing that there was so much to lose, but having more money in hand (with lesser taxes) to act upon, there was a priority placed on calculated risks.
Now, we have less money (with higher taxes) and more regulations (put in place with those taxes) to step around on the ladder to success. The risk is lessened with our social security programs, but our reward is also lesser. After all of that, those who do make it to the top – or better than where they started – are bombarded by some politician running on the basis that the “rich need to pay their fair share!”
The same thing may apply with healthcare and one’s willingness to take their health into their own hands. Preventative care, healthy living, willpower to say no to fad diets and push the plate back from time-to-time. Why do any of that hard work regulating your own choices, when you could just rely on the government healthcare and social security programs when they start to show the negative ramifications down the road in your life? This being apart from a below-average physique leading to these less-than-exciting new life traits such as arthritis, heart conditions and diabetes.
“In curative care, the principal professional responsibility is to the individual patient, whereas in preventive care, focus is often at the population level and entails a responsibility to the entire community. In curative care, solutions involve prescribing medication, performing operations, or delivering other clinical therapies; in prevention, there is a much wider array of possibilities, from changing behavior choices to altering social conditions, in addition to clinical interventions such as immunizations. Ensuring the health of a population is more difficult than delivering healthcare to an individual.” - Harvey Fineberg
The quote above from Harvey Fineberg, former President of the Institute of Medicine, best exemplifies the difference in curative care and preventative care. When I speak about healthy living in food choices and exercise, I am also speaking about regular physician checkups, immunizations and the understanding that sometimes Google is secondary to a professional opinion. While the Affordable Care Act (or ObamaCare) does focus on both, the major focus is curative.
Just a side note, ObamaCare was passed through the Supreme Court not doing their job properly. It was bad news from the start by this blatant disrespect for the Supreme Court’s original purpose and its position in balancing the federal government. By calling ObamaCare a “tax” instead of a “mandate,” it was declared as constitutional, even in the fact that if you choose not to partake in healthcare, you are penalized. Seems mandatory to me, particularly when I am seeing the equivalent of a small mortgage taken from my monthly pay in my daily tax-cattle routine.
I digress… with all of this money being thrown into healthcare coverage, what if we simply lived healthier? Accidents will happen, illnesses requiring treatment are almost inevitable, and genetic abnormalities are a given in certain cases, which I can see a benefit from these programs in those cases. But what about the average American?
I propose less healthcare coverage provided by the government. As its provision is decreased, make clear the need for healthy living amongst US citizens, and remove those safety nets that are only hindering us from seeing real life as such – reality. In doing so, we also remove many excuses for the victim mentality by education; allowing for the free market to stand up, and character of people to mature and live life well.