Is Our Government Trying to Keep Us Sick?
I figure that since we just saw the State of the Union it might be a good time to step into the political arena with a blog post. What more appropriate political hot button could I write about besides…. TADA! Healthcare.
First it’s important to understand that the system we have grown up in is not really health care. It can be described more accurately as Sick care. To illustrate my point answer this question: When do you go to the doctor? Most of you answered: When I’m sick. The rest of you probably just don’t read English well enough to understand the question. But there it is. We are not using our system to make or keep people healthy. It is meant to treat the sick.
The goal of the most recently passed legislation is to expand this Sick care system to make it available to more people. In other words now people are more free than ever to engage in unhealthy behavior because free Sick care will be there to bail them out. Ironically, this idea sickens me.
We are missing such a huge opportunity in this country. Health and our cultural approach to it is front and center in the national dialogue and all we can seem to talk about is what to do when we get sick! So I pose the question I titled this post with: Is our government trying to keep us sick? Why isn’t anybody trying to think outside of the box and trying to make sure that everybody has Health Assurance instead of Health Insurance?
It would be so easy to provide some incentives for people to adopt positive health behaviors. You must know where I’m going with this by now. Let’s give tax breaks to people who are engaging in positive health behaviors. Are you a non-smoker? Tax break. Do you maintain a health Body Mass Index? Tax Break. Have you had screening procedures such as a Pap Smear, Colonoscopy, Prostate Exam, Blood Chemistry? Tax Break, Tax Break, Tax Break, Tax Break. Anybody who participates in a marathon, triathlon, or similar event can write off their registration fee. Plus they earn….. you guessed…. a Tax Break! Let people write off the cost of their health insurance if they choose to purchase it. In this tough economy tax incentives for positive health behavior kills two birds with one stone.
We already reward tax payers for behavior that benefits society. Do you support your children? Tax Break. Are you making education a priority in your life? Tax Break. Are you being financially responsible and saving for the future? DOUBLE BONUS! Tax Break AND Tax Shelter!
We have to stop focusing on building a better parachute when the problem is really broken airplanes. Healthy Americans saves everybody money. Healthy Americans makes everybody happy. The current approach does nothing to help people lead better lives. Think of it this way: unless you get sick you get NOTHING from this “health” care bill. If you want to benefit from it you need to get sick first. It’s as if the government is just daring you to go ahead and get sick. C’mon! Try out our parachutes! Why would they do that? Why do politicians do anything? They want your vote. They want you to vote after your insulin shot, during cancer treatment, dialysis, or recovering from surgery. Then they can pat themselves on the back and say, “look at what I’ve done for you!”. What they should be saying is “Look at what I’ve helped you do to yourself.”
So what can we do? Exercise! Not just THAT type of exercise. I’m talking about exercising your rights. Stop voting for anybody who talks about bailouts. Stop voting for people who will benefit politically at the expense of our health and safety. Badger your representatives and senators until they know your name and tell them you want benefits, rewards and incentives for making positive health choices. Write letters, rally, run for office yourself if you have to.
Is our government trying to make us sick? I honestly believe they are. If we need to rely on their sick care then we will always need them. Our lives will depend on it. It’s time we step up and start saving our own lives.