Who wants a healthier America, please raise your hand!
The status of health and healthcare in the United States is in bad shape. Health insurance premiums have increased every year for at least the last 14 years (http://kff.org/interactive/premiums-and-worker-contributions/). In fact, health care premiums have continued to rise in many states the last four years even since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (http://www.nytimes.com/2013/01/06/business/despite-new-health-law-some-see-sharp-rise-in-premiums.html?pagewanted=all&_r=1&). In a perfect world we would obey the Golden Rule and apply it to healthcare. What is the Golden Rule? The Golden Rule refers to Matthew 7:12 (https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+7:12&version=ESV), which states:
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.”
The reason that I bring that up is because it is a part of American culture and it relates to chapter 8 in “Here Comes Everyone.” On page 192-193 Shirky writes “direct reciprocity assumes that if you do someone a favor today, that person will do you a favor tomorrow. Indirect reciprocity is even more remarkable–it assumes that if you do someone in your community a favor today, someone in your community will be around to do you a favor tomorrow, even if it isn’t the same person” If America is serious about health, it needs to start practicing healthy communalism. Why? Because if I overuse my health insurance, it will negatively (in an indirect way) effect you. What does a healthier America look like?
1. Encourage One Another
The first thing we need to do as a nation is to feel like we have a vested interest in the social well being of each other. Many years ago there was a campaign to reduce drunk driving. One of the slogans was “Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive Drunk.”
In this day and age, we need to encourage one another to exercise and eat foods that are low in white sugars. A new slogan might sound like this: Friends Encourage Friends to Eat Healthy. Or perhaps the new slogan might sounds like this: Friends Exercise Together.
2. Decrease Moral Hazard
When we have health insurance, we should not think of it as a cart blanche to go see our primary care physician (PCP) for anything. If you have a rhinovirus infection, perhaps your first line of defense is to stay home for two days and rest. Do you have to go see the PCP for everything? If we as a nation decrease our frivolous PCP visits this will decrease the amount of money we spend nationally and could have the added benefit of what we have not seen in decades: a decrease in health insurance premiums.
3. Investigate our Bodies and Eat Accordingly
This is the least obvious. What does this mean? It means that you need to understand how effectively your body consumes calories. Do you have a fast metabolism or a slow metabolism? There are a few people who can eat anything and they never gain weight. However, there are also people who have very slow metabolisms. The best way to find out how quickly or slowly your body burns calories is to get an assessment (http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/how-to-measure-your-metabolic-rate.html). Once you know what kind of metabolism you have, you can adjust your diet accordingly. This could save you many health problems (e.g. type II diabetes) throughout your life.