The U.S. spends $2.5 trillion a year on healthcare costs. We have very quickly become numb to the incomprehensibility of a trillion dollars. That’s $2,500,000,000,000. That’s 2,500 billion dollars. That’s 16% of the gross national product. It’s twice as much as the average amount other countries spend, but are we twice as healthy as the rest of the world? The answer is no.
And it’s just going to get worse in 2011 when the baby boomers storm Medicare. It has been estimated that Medicare has $30 to $40 trillion in unfunded liabilities. Where is that money going to come from? I imagine there will be printing presses involved but I for one do not intend to entrust my future health to that system.
Of course, it is a complete misnomer to call it a “healthcare” system in the first place. In fact, what we have is a disease management system focusing on pigeon-holing symptoms and then slicing or drugging them into submission. Very few resources in the system are dedicated to supporting people in cultivating good health practices.
According to David Katz, M.D., Associate Professor of Public Health at Yale University School of Medicine and Director of its Prevention Research Center, the four leading causes of death in the U.S. are heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes. Fully 50% of those deaths are rooted in tobacco use, poor diet and insufficient physical activity. Lifestyle, not the medical system, determines the health of the nation. There is now a clear consensus among doctors practicing preventative medicine that food alone can reduce diabetes by 90%, cardiac heart disease by 80% and cancer by 60%. Yet there is virtually no funding for disease prevention through nutrition and lifestyle. How about making kale tax deductible?
It’s been proven that prevention translates not only to lives saved but to costs saved. Dr. Mark Hyman sees billions in medical savings through the addition of a few dietary supplements that cost pennies a day. He cites a study by the Lewin Group which found that the addition of calcium and vitamin D to the diets of Medicare participants would save the system $16.1 billion in costs related to osteoporosis over a 5 year period, and the addition of omega-3 fatty acid supplements would save an additional $3.2 billion associated with heart disease over the same period.
When will your insurance company and the government catch on? Don’t hold your breath. Instead, create your own health insurance plan by making healthy nutrition and lifestyle changes and avoiding the disease management system at all costs. Think of the money you spend on the gym, organic fruits and vegetables, and dietary supplements as the real premium insuring your good health.…