Monday, March 21, 2011

Health Care Is Not Expensive

Got your attention? I bet I did. I know everyone of us are thinking about health care these days, one way or another. My goal today is to tell you how you can be less concerned about what changes are really coming down, and show you how you can have less costs with regards to your health, and, how if we all did this, it would save the country hundreds of millions of dollars, maybe even billions.

First, let’s clarify a couple of things. For starters, when you go to your doctor for an illness, (are you ready for this?) you are NOT receiving health care. That’s right, you heard it here first, it is NOT health care. It is SICK care. It is DISEASE care. You are going there because you are sick, or have a disease. You are there because for some reason, your body has broken down and is not doing what it’s supposed to have done, you body’s function has decreased enough to where an illness has temporarily (hopefully temporarily) won the fight for who is in charge inside you. This is true for the flu, a sinus infection, pneumonia, and diseases such as cardiovascular issues, diabetes, cancer etc. So, you have chosen to go and get some help via medications to suppress said sickness/disease/symptom in the hopes that either your body will kick in again and knock down the issue, or you can at least keep it down to a dull roar.

Please hear me, I am not condemning going to get treated for your disease. It is necessary sometimes. Otherwise, the results could be severe, even fatal. I am reminded of a patient I had a few years ago that didn’t seek care fast enough, and lost the lower ½ of his leg to a diabetic neuropathy. (More on this guy later). I am only trying to get us to think differently about health care vs. sick care or disease management. Remember, the type of thinking that we’ve developed so far in our country with regards to health and wellness has gotten us to where we are now, which is a very sick nation, with rampant obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and many other diseases of lifestyle. That same type of thinking will not get us out of this rut, and will keep us reliant on medications, surgeries, and, of course, insurance plans.

Do you realize that much of our illness/disease in this country is caused by lifestyle decisions? What if we started thinking radically differently about our lifestyles? Obesity, diabetes, stroke, and heart disease are things that cost us directly when we have to deal with it, and indirectly when they reach epidemic levels as they have here in our country. What if we changed that?

Do you realize how much cheaper it would be for us if we only learned how to take better care of ourselves? If our thinking was so radically changed that we no longer tolerated putting toxins in our bodies that are disguised as food, we would chart a totally different course for ourselves, our families and our country regarding health. If we sought out health care providers that focused primarily on lifestyle changes, and supporting us in those endeavors, what would that do for us? If we joined a gym and actually used the membership, or started a walking group, how different could our lives be? It would cost us personally so much less for starters. And it would cost the nation much less too! Follow me here: The sicker we are as a nation, the more we have to use health insurance. The more we have to use health insurance, the less the insurance companies profit. They tend to not like that much, so our premiums go up. When our employers have to pay more in premiums, it cuts into their profits. That loss of profit is usually offset by the company charging the consumer more for their product or service. Do you see how every time one more of us gets sick and has to seek out sick care, it has an impact on the entire country? This doesn’t even count lost productivity because of absent workers! When you look at it in this way, the concept is staggering!!

This is supposed to be a time of “change”, so how can we change this situation? Seek out wellness oriented healthcare providers. Let them work with you in making lifestyle changes that will help you step closer to wellness. This is what we do at our office every day. We teach people what it means to eat better, move better, rest better and think better daily. We set goals for them, we support them as they work through changing 20, 30, 40 years or more of thinking in the old paradigm. It’s fun to see them lose 40 pounds under our supervision and feel “better than ever” as one 60+ year patient told us. It’s exciting to see people’s cholesterol levels normalize. It’s rewarding to hear how a person has learned to deal with stress so much better that they finally feel rested when they wake in the mornings. It IS possible. It IS happening right now. It CAN happen for you, and it would benefit not only you and your family, but our great nation as a whole!

So, back to my diabetic patient with the prosthetic leg. He chose NOT to learn to eat, move, think and rest better, he chose NOT to pursue true health care. I saw him a while back. He’s now in a wheelchair, with BOTH of his legs now removed from the knee down. A very sad story for a young man. A very costly process for him. A huge lesson for us all.

“Health Care” is NOT expensive, “Sick Care” is.

Until next time, BE WELL!

Dr. Bruce

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