The LuLac Edition #2121, July 11th, 2012
WRITE ON WEDNESDAY
HEALTH CARE/TWO VIEWSWith the Health Care bill still being debated, this week’s “Write On Wednesday” has two points of view. Both are friends of this site, Dr. Joe Leonardi and Wil Toole. First up, Doctor Leonardi.
I know my good friend Dave has been going on and on and on about the recent health care reform bill. I think he has probably written more about it than he has about the tearing down of St. John the Baptist, However, it is time to realize that the battle concerning the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), informally referred to as Obamacare, is officially over. Yes it is. If you are for it celebrate. If you oppose it --- get over it. Any person with even a passing knowledge of U.S. politics understands that once a bill is passed, signed into law and then upheld by the Supreme Court there is nothing left to do. I know there are republicans who are vowing to repeal the law --- please, get real. There isn’t a spine in the U.S. Congress, especially on the republican side. This is a big financial boon to large insurance companies who contribute wads of cash to both parties, not a single politician on either side is going to rock that boat. Additionally, if Governor Romney wins, does anyone really think that he is going to drop the plan for which he drew up the blueprint? The most disturbing fact is that whether this reform stands, is unlikely repealed, or is replaced with a national universal plan, the cost of health care will continue to escalate exponentially and eventually bankrupting any system. Because, what gets lost in all of the debate is the reality that today’s medical doctor spends relatively little time curing disease. Most of the conditions that are crippling the American system are not caused by infectious agents. The bulk of what the modern medicine man and woman takes care of are the result of poor lifestyle choices, and until that is addressed, the cost will continue to rise, no matter the yarn any politician or pundit attempts to spin. Most chronic diseases in this country can be attributed to tobacco, alcohol or obesity. Either alone or combined, these three controllable variables are primary factors driving up the cost of health care. No matter what rhetoric anyone uses to pretty it up, until these three issues are given their due consideration, the costs will continue to climb. When it comes to controlling spending, the Affordable Care Act is as stupid as, and even less effective than, placing a bandage on a gunshot wound to the heart. The information on smoking has been out there for decades and for some reason beyond any explanation, people continue the activity. I discuss alcohol from time to time, because it can go hand in hand the topic with which I am very familiar --- obesity. Obesity is the big one. It is a growing problem, not only in the United States, but worldwide, my last interview was for a website based out of France. I write for an international website on the topics of obesity, health, wellness and fitness and I am often asked to give interviews on the same topics. The problem is not complex, but it is difficult for many people because: - The U.S. government has had a food policy that for decades has encouraged the production and consumption of the very foods that make us obese. - Dr. Ancel Keys’ silly conclusions influenced Senator George McGovern's panel which eventually led to the starch-laden food pyramid, that in turn gave rise to numerous low fat, fake food substances, which instead of lowering heart disease has increased it. - The U.S. government has given erroneous information about obesity management. - It is not all government, the media has helped; everyone from the pudgy purveyors of food pornography at the food network to local beer hawkers at WILK, promote the purchase and consumption of waist widening and health destroying products. There is much more, but perhaps the most important is the shunning of self-responsibility. No matter what the influences are, the fact is that we control the type and amount of food we shove down are gullets and the amount of exercise we put out. Unless there is an underlying medical condition, obesity should not be having the impact it is on today’s population. We live in a country were children as young as eleven are now type II diabetics. That is not only unbelievable, it should be unacceptable. Obesity and obesity related issues will cost upwards of 300 BILLION dollars and that figure is only going to grow larger. Unless the epidemic of obesity is addressed and conquered, all the reform in the world is not going to do a damn thing. As it stands now, doctors are being transformed from professionals who treat disease into nannies who simply give a spoonful of medicine in an attempt to manage the self-inflicted chronic diseases that ail their patients. Is there some fantasy world where a government reform act is going to stop this? Not likely. Even Mayor Bloomberg's silly soda size ban, if put into effect, will have zero impact. It is up to us to educate and be responsible for ourselves. All of this effort has been applied to the wrong portion of health care. It is time to stop focusing solely on care, and put the emphasis on health if we want to do anything meaningful for our fellow citizens.