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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 8/15/09

Self-Care Reform

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For a couple of weeks now I have been beating around the bush trying to find the right words to say what's been bothering me in this health care reform debate, if that's what you want to call the uncivil disobedience that's been going on at these town hall meetings.

Thank God for professional writers. Let me quote a couple of paragraphs from an article posted by JoNel Aleccia on MSNBC entitled "Health reform idea: Put down the doughnut." The overall theme was personal responsibility or the lack thereof when it comes to people taking care of their own health:

"Critics say members of Congress who've headed home for summer recess leaving no fewer than five Democratic health reform plans up in the air should be as concerned about encouraging individual accountability as they are with extending insurance coverage to 46 million Americans.

There's no doubt that the bulk of the nation's health care costs are self-inflicted. Smoking, high blood pressure and being overweight are the top risks for early death, accounting for more than 1 million premature deaths each year, with physical inactivity, high blood sugar and alcohol use not far behind, according to an April study by the Harvard School of Public Health.

The price tag for obesity has soared to $147 billion a year, new government studies show, and smoking costs about $193 billion in medical expenses and lost productivity."

As I listen to the rhetorical cannonades being volleyed back and forth over such ridiculous issues as whether or not there will be federal death squads winnowing seniors from the herd, it is hard to remember that health care is about well, health care.

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What is my answer for health care reform? Well, first and foremost we the people have to stop demanding and expecting every test for every little ache and pain. Second, we need to do much more to manage our own health. If government wants to do something, it should subsidize mandatory exercise and diet education, beginning in the schools and the social services system.

I realize that none of this has any direct bearing on reforming the health care insurance system, which seems to be what the debate has whittled down to, but it does have a very direct bearing on the high costs of health care. We have become so damn dependent on someone else taking care of our problems that we have forgotten how effective a little self-help can be in preventing costly diseases that the rest of us end up paying for.

As I listen to all those angry people whining about how the government is going to do this and the government can't do that, I have yet to hear what we the people are willing to do to take responsibility for our own fate. Instead, it is all about letting "me me me" keep what I have. And by the way, saying "No" is not doing something.

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This article fisrt appeared on Every Man A Giant


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One day while digesting the latest piece of bad news about the economy, I thought about my grandchildren and wondered what they would be worrying about when they were adults. I decided that economic downturns come and go, but CLIMATE CHANGE is here (more...)
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