Legislating Preventative Health Care Is a Fantasy

Ever since President Obama first started talking about health care reform, politicians have been talking about preventative medicine by legislation, but it's all bogus.

Our President said "Simply put, in the absence of a radical shift towards prevention and public health, we will not be successful in containing medical costs or improving the health of the American people." In my opinion, he's right on. John McCain agreed with him, and said that by emphasizing prevention we can cut health care costs.

The problem is that this idea of legislating preventative medicine in order to reduce health care costs and improve the health of Americans is a complete fantasy. First of all, you need to understand that what they were talking about was national health care reform, and what we got when it was all said and done is now called the "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," also known as the PPACA.

People should understand that the PPACA is not about health care at all. It's about health insurance. There's a difference. Furthermore, there is no health care model currently run by any insurance company that has anything to do with preventative medicine. Preventative medicine does not currently exist in any form that can be provided by an insurance company, hospital or government.

Kaiser is currently trying to be the insurance company that is associated with prevention, but what do they actually do? They saturate the airwaves with commercials where Peggy Bundy talks about blueberries and yoga, but when was the last time Kaiser made you eat a blueberry, or forced you to do yoga? It makes for a great, feel-good PR campaign, but how will these commercials for something that can't be provided by an insurance company improve the health of Americans or cut health care costs like the politicians described when designing health care reform?

Disease prevention has nothing to do with medicine or hospitals, and therefore nothing to do with health insurance, which is a misnomer in the first place, since insurance only pays when you are sick or injured, and really should be called sick insurance.

By the way, mammograms, prostate exams and other screening tests, although a good idea, are not preventative medicine. Mammograms do not prevent breast cancer any more than x-rays prevent broken ankles. Diagnosing a disease in its early stages will improve your treatment outcomes, but is not prevention, so why are we calling it that?

Prevention is about not having a disease or condition in the first place. Disease is prevented by a person's lifestyle, and lifestyle is a choice. Don't take my word for it. Almost every medical doctor agrees that more than 90% of Medicare costs are caused by just a handful of conditions that are preventable, and in some cases even reversible with proper choices in regards to nutrition and fitness. The government is not capable of legislating our choices, and therefore unable to legislate prevention.

I'm not trying to be a downer with this post. I just hope that people will take all this marketing by insurance companies and speech making by politicians, and see it for what it is. They are telling you the nice things that you want to hear because it makes them look good and you feel good, but they can't deliver. If you are waiting for some change to health care that is going to make you wake up every morning feeling well rested, healthy and energetic, you are living in a fantasy world.

Health and fitness is like a college degree. Nobody can give it to you, and you can't buy it. You have to earn it, and the payoff is huge. Disease prevention is just one of the many benefits.

If you are actually interested in prevention, and therefore health and fitness, here are some great resources. You can start here, at the Linus Pauling Institute, which is run by Oregon State University. Start by learning the "Rx for Health." The website will provide you with all of the general rules, and is not designed to sell you anything.

There are plenty of good blogs out there that give actual recipes using the rules from the Rx for health, and I can give you some specific links if you send me an email. Also, gyms like Fitness 19, right here in Sacramento, have gym memberships for $15.00 per month, and sometimes less. If you're looking for a personal trainer to get you started on a realistic and helpful workout plan, I'd be happy to recommend a good one in your area.

So give us a call and get started. It'll change your life.

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