Why it cannot happen unless and until fare more people change their minds and their behavior

I believe that the truth will set you free. The truth is that America’s health care system is not broken. In fact, we have the best health care system in the world, bar none! There are, however, adjustments that need to be made. I have not read all of the 2,700 plus pages in the new health care reform bill from the White House but I did read the Cliff Notes. Here is what I took from what I read: Don’t get sick, and don’t get poor!

Rather than focus on changes that need to be made in America’s health care system, I want to focus on changes that need to be made by the recipients of health care : the citizens. I guarantee you that if serious changes are not made by Americans on the prevention side, there is probably no hope for the future of health care as we know it.

In a lecture given over 20 years ago I said the following; “People are rapidly exiting the engine-room of responsibility regarding preventative health, and quickly making their way through the box cars on the blame train to the excuse-caboose. There they sit and commiserate with their companions of complacency on why their obesity, diabetes, heart disease, osteoporosis, etc., is not their fault!”

As it relates to prevention, most people take better care of their automobiles and their pets then they do their own body. As a result, many now cannot afford health insurance, or even if they have insurance cannot afford anything else.  In 2007, Harvard researchers reported that 62% of all bankruptcies filed were due to medical bills. That was 2007!

More truth

Here are the facts: 70% of all health-care costs are the direct result of behavior. 74% of all costs are confined to four chronic conditions; (1) cardiovascular disease, (2) cancer, (3) diabetes, and (4) obesity. More facts: 80% of cardiovascular disease and diabetes is preventable. 60% of cancers are preventable. And, 90% of obesity is preventable.

One 2006 study by Kevin Murphy and Robert Topel of the University of Chicago showed that a mere 1% reduction in cancer deaths would be worth $500 billion! On CNBCs “Meeting of the Minds: The Future of Health care”, Michael Milken said, “If everyone in America lost weight, and returned to the same weight levels of 1991, we would save 1 trillion dollars. We would cover all the uninsured and we would be able to quadruple the amount of money we spend on research.”

CNBCs \”Meeting of the Minds: The Future of Health care\”, Michael Milken

Treating preventable diseases in the U.S. costs $1.3 trillion a year, according to a 2007 report by the institute, a Santa Monica-based research group. Prevention is all about dollars and cents or as I like to say, dollars and common sense.

Again, Michael Milken; “There’s great concern with rising health-care costs, yet too often we overlook that the single best way to contain them is to keep people from getting sick in the first place. That starts with recognizing that lifestyles, not genes, are the biggest contributors to disease. Public and corporate programs aimed at even slight reductions in obesity, tobacco use and other damaging behaviors pay large social and economic dividends.”

A prevention prophecy

Yogi Berra, once said, “Predictions are very difficult, especially when you’re talking about the future.” Many years ago, Tomas Edison made the following prediction; “The doctors of the future will prescribe no medicine. Rather they will concern themselves with the maintenance of the body and prevention of disease.”

It obviously made perfectly good sense to Mr. Edison that the intelligent approach to a healthy health care system would be for everyone to do everything possible to prevent potential health problems from ever occurring in the first place. Certainly everyone knows that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

It is a good thing Thomas Edison couldn’t play the Lottery! No prediction, that I’m aware of, has ever been further off the mark. Today in America, without question, the prescriptions written by most doctors are for medicine, not prevention. And the result of this uncommon sense? America is now the fattest industrialized nation on the planet, and the cost of health care is sky rocketing!

Michael vs. Michael

Personally, I’m behind Michael Milken’s prevention ideas for a solution to our health care dilemma, and not Michael Moore’s. I’ll never forget hearing Michael Moore say, “Every resident of the United States must have free, universal health care for life.” I don’t know about you but I’m tired of footing the bill for the Michael Moore’s of this world who at 100 pounds or more overweight sits pointing a finger insisting that the government (which is really you and I) pay for their health care! I’ve got a better idea. How about I keep my money, and you get busy doing what you’re totally capable of doing to get and stay healthy!

It is past time in this country that people take personal responsibility for their health! There is a God given principle that is older than dirt and everyone knows it’s true: you reap what you sow! The bottom line is that each of us has the brain power to pay attention and do the things necessary to stay healthy. Brain power yes ? will power no! Far too many people today are educated beyond their obedience, or like Mr. Moore are naively waiting for the “government” to simply take care of the problem. They really don’t want to be bothered by the truth right now… their making their way through the blame-train to the excuse-caboose.

******** In 1979 Dave moved from the active world of the National Football League into a sedentary job. His playing weight combined with a serious back injury from a near fatal accident made it difficult to get back into shape physically. In 1989, discouraged by the high percentage of Americans who are sedentary, Dave began traveling extensively, educating and motivating corporate America to get fit for life. Dave has spoken to hundreds of Fortune 500, and Fortune 100 companies, as well as many organizations throughout America. He has been featured many times on radio and television, and is a frequently published author in publications and major online health and fitness sites. Dave’s new book, including DVD, is titled: BAD CHUTE! Why most Americans fail with fitness.