Three Suggestions for a Healthier America

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.

Couple exercising 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.

vegetables

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.

Healthy Man Running

 

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3 thoughts on “Three Suggestions for a Healthier America

  1. Morris,
    I agree that we all need to be encouraging one and other to live a healthier life and make better choices because all it needs its a little push to get the point across. Also, I had noticed that people nowadays are so engrossed in their busy life and cell phone/social media apps that using these apps to show that we all care about their health or well being would be the way to go.

  2. These are some of the hard truths that people don’t want to think about when we consider the cost of health care in the United States. I think it’s really interesting that you brought up the idea of direct and indirect reciprocity — in its negative form, it’s one of the fundamentals of health insurance. If you use more health care, costs go up for everyone in your plan. And yet reimbursement rates continue to get slashed, so doctors take on ever-larger patient panels and rely more heavily on technology for diagnoses since they’re not able to spend as much time with each patient. There’s a recent piece on just this topic that would be good complementary reading here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/21/opinion/busy-doctors-wasteful-spending.html?_r=0

  3. I really like how much media you’ve included in your post: links to resources/video/pictures. This makes your blog engaging and interesting for the reader. One thing to think about when using links is to hyperlink the web address to the text so it just highlights a few words and doesn’t include the full web address or use a link shortening tool like Bitly. But of course as I say this I’m trying to hyperlink Bitly to the address https://bitly.com/ and wordpress isn’t allowing me so maybe just ignore what I’m saying! 🙂

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