Yo, Step away from the Ding-Dong!
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, three-fourths of health care spending now goes to treat “preventable chronic diseases.” Not all of these diseases are linked to diet — there’s smoking, for instance — but many of them are.
We spend $147 billion to treat obesity, $116 billion to treat diabetes, and hundreds of billions more treating cardiovascular disease and the many types of cancer that have been linked to the so-called Western diet.
Cheap food is going to be popular as long as the social and environmental costs of that food are charged to the future. There’s gobs of money to be made selling fast food and then treating the diseases that fast food causes. One of the leading products of the American food industry has become patients for the American health care industry.
Take for example the market for prescription drugs and medical devices to manage Type 2 diabetes, which the Centers for Disease Control estimates will afflict one in three Americans born after 2000.
So you might be thinking, what about the insurance companies? Where’s the incentive for them to encourage prevention over disease management?
As for the insurers, you would think preventing chronic diseases would be good business, but, at least under the current rules, it’s much better business simply to keep patients at risk for chronic disease out of your pool of customers, whether through lifetime caps on coverage or rules against pre-existing conditions or by figuring out ways to toss patients overboard when they become ill.
Maybe if they made it so you can’t deny pre-existing conditions for new customers and not charge exorbitantly higher fees, then the insurance companies might be enthusiastic fans of healthy lifestyle choices.
The status quo is slow to change and to entertain the idea of expulsion of those currently running the show is a bit ridiculous and likely to cause too much mayhem and chaos in the process.
True education and the desire to own and rediscover each of our divine personal power and use our waning ability to think and question for ourselves is a much more long term solution to this epidemic.
The secret to saving the world (assuming that it even needs to be saved) is to start with yourself first and don’t worry about what the other person next to you is doing. Get your own house in order. If these words are heeded by a majority, then we’ll be in pretty good shape.
and Hey! Put that Twinkie down!