The staggering national debt, coupled with high unemployment and sagging productivity, are sucking the “care” out of the US healthcare system.
Get ready for longer waits in the doctor’s office and the ER … hastier physical exams … rising premiums for health insurance (if you’re lucky enough to have coverage) … and an even greater emphasis on prescription drugs.
The quality care we’ve been accustomed to here in the US is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.
Welcome to the two-tier era of medical care
Thanks to Congress’ failure to reform our healthcare system, we’re seeing a wider gulf between the haves and the have-nots.
Fewer doctors are accepting Medicare and Medicaid patients. Hospitals are turning away people with no health insurance. And prescription costs are spiking upward as drug companies scamper to protect their profits.
These and other dismal economic factors are diminishing the quality of healthcare for the majority of Americans who can’t afford premium insurance policies or concierge medical care (paying your doctor an annual fee in exchange for preferential service).
What’s breaking the back of our healthcare system?
Today’s biggest expenditures (by far!) are going for the treatment of heart disease, Type 2 diabetes, hypertension and certain cancers – “lifestyle diseases” which are entirely preventable.
Caring for these diseases will soon cost us more than several trillion dollars a year.
For example, the cost of treating cardiovascular disease – the leading cause of death in the US — will triple to $818 billion annually by 2030, according to the American Heart Association. Add to that another $276 billion in lost productivity, and we’ll be spending a trillion dollars on heart disease alone.
Type 2 diabetes is another economic back-breaker. Its incidence in the US is projected to increase 165% by 2050 – meaning that one-in-three Americans will have it, according to new estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Right now 10% of all US adults are diagnosed with diabetes (95% with Type 2), but as many as 80 million others are walking around with prediabetes and don’t even realize it.
And the list goes on and on…
The situation is going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
That’s because our entire medical system is devoted to “disease care,” not healthcare.
What I mean by this is there’s far more money in treating these diseases than eliminating them though aggressive prevention or reversal programs (usually accomplished through diet and lifestyle modification).
Ever since the medical profession became a for-profit industry, the incentive has been on maximizing the number of “customers” and services.
In other words: The more illness we have, the better the system does.
Is this crazy, or what?
It’s not only insane, but dangerous because it means the American public probably won’t be getting the education it needs to prevent these lifestyle diseases any time soon.
Not only would this bad for the healthcare business, but consider the effect it would have on other related industries.
For instance, imagine the billions of dollars in lost sales that would occur if the government or the medical community advised us to stop consuming the things that are directly responsible for these lifestyle diseases: The sodas … refined carbs … fast foods … sweets … vegetable oils … and tobacco products that clog our arteries, spike our blood sugar, fatten our bottoms, and fuel tumor growth.
That won’t happen because there’s far too much money in keeping us ill and ignorant.
Dare to raise this point and the corporations which profit – often through their privately-financed “citizen groups” and associations – would rush to raise the “personal responsibility” argument (often wrapping it in the flag and condemning any effort to protect consumers as encouraging a socialized “nanny state” that takes away your personal freedom).
But shouldn’t this personal freedom also include the opportunity to make educated choices?
Yet this is can be particularly difficult when the industries that stand to profit the most are able to exert so much influence in keeping you in the dark.
Here’s just one example…
Fast food and soda lobbyists spent $56,771,216 in 2009 to sway our elected representatives into obscuring the harm their clients inflict on the public’s health. Click here to see how much each company actually spent.
To this day, fast food chains continue to fight tooth-and-nail to keep the calorie content of their foods and beverages off the menu board so you can’t make an educated choice on the spot.
My point is that healthcare – and staying healthy — today isn’t a level playing field. The odds are stacked in favor of the special interests and against the average Joe and Jane.
But it isn’t hopeless.
Your best defense is to educate yourself on how to prevent these lifestyle diseases – and how to reverse them if you or a loved one are already afflicted.
It’s time to get serious, folks
While it may be difficult-to-impossible to free yourself from dependency on gasoline … your cell phone … internet access … mortgages and rents … and the many other necessities of life that are close to becoming monopolized, you can gain freedom from the healthcare industry and all the drugs, medical procedures, and expenses associated with it.
In fact, your health may be the one commodity you still have autonomous control over.
Now is the time to exercise that control by improving your diet, becoming more physically active, stimulating your mental faculties, developing emotional resiliency, and cultivating inner peace.
You’ve got to start taking better care of your health today, because you can’t rely on the healthcare system of tomorrow to do it for you.
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