Sunday, February 17, 2013

Slaying The Big Four Horsemen of the Health Care Apocalypse

Not the 4 Horsemen of Health Care
Apocalypse
  1. 1% of the US population, about 3.1 million people, use 35% of all health care expenditures each year. The specific people in this number change each year due to death or recovery.
  2. 5% of the US population, about 15.5 million people, use 60% of all health care expenditures each year. The specific people in this number change each year due to death or recovery.
  3. Many, if not a majority of these people are in the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
  4. Health care now consumes 18% of GNP. It is expected to consume 20% of GDP by 2021.
  5. Chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and strokes, account for most of our expenditures. 
  6. Anywhere from 35%-50% of all health care expenditures can be attributable to these four conditions.
  7. 35% of all health care expenditures is almost $1 trillion per year, $900 billion to be exact.  50% is $1.3 trillion.
  8. These 'Big Four Horsemen of the Health Care Apocalypse' can be 'solved' if everyone in America did the following things right now: a) stopped smoking; b) stopped excessive drinking; c) stopped over-eating and lost 25% of the body mass weight soon and d) exercised 45 minutes per day which could include just walking or climbing stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.
  9. The average life expectancy of the US population has increased from 48 years in 1900 to 81 in 2012 over these past 113  years.  
  10. 60% of Americans are overweight. 
  11. 75% of American young people can't qualify for military service for mostly physical fitness reasons.
  12. 17% of our adolescents are obese.  
  13. 3 out of 4 Americans of draft age are not eligible to serve in our military due to lack of education, criminal record or can't pass physical fitness parameters. The latter makes up more than 50% of the inability of recruits to qualify to serve in our armed forces.*
We don't make these statistics up.  These come from various governmental resources and presentations we have seen lately. And there are some people out there who think medical care cost inflation is going to flatten out in the near foreseeable future?

You don't like Obamacare? Or the insurance companies? BCBS? Paying for Medicare or Medicaid through your tax dollars? (Seniors get a nice 85% subsidy from every working person young and old through Medicare)

You have it in your hands to reduce the impact of all of them on your daily lives as well as the federal taxpayer. You can take better care of yourself as noted above. We all can.

But, you can also contact your elected representatives in Washington and your state capital and start to demand that in return for any state or federal taxpayer-subsidized health care payments, the recipient must agree to a managed health care plan to help them stop smoking, stop over-drinking, end any drug addiction they might have, stop over-eating and exercise 45-minutes per day even if it only means walking around the parking lot hundreds of times.

The time has long since passed in this country when welfare money issued by the state or federal government, which includes Medicare as well as Medicaid, can be handed out without any conditions or responsibilities on the part of the willing recipient.

If you want to smoke 4 packs of cigarettes per day, drink a case of beer and a fifth of liquor every night, eat Burger King Whoppers for breakfast, lunch and dinner and wash it down with a 64 oz Big Gulp, and stay on your couch all day watching reruns of 'I Love Lucy' with a remote in your hand, that is fine. You are more than free to do it.  On your own dime and time and conditions, however. Buy your own health insurance and then you can do with your body whatever you want to, good or bad.

However, if you want any hard-working, responsible taxpaying citizen to subsidize your health insurance and health care costs, you should be required to submit to some firm regimen of health care maintenance and cost containment simply because you are asking your fellow citizen to help pay the cost of repairing your health.

In some circles, that may sound 'draconian' and 'unfair'. For most of American history, this would be considered 'personal responsibility', 'honor' and 'duty'.

We don't mind helping out the older citizen, the young and the poor with some form of social assistance. Especially if they simply can not do so on their own.

The time has now arrived when we can not throw any more taxpayer money at rising costs of health care for conditions that can and should be managed by the individual.  Every individual, you and me included.

Between 35-50% of all health care costs are preventable.

Let's start taking action to make it so.

*thanks and a hat tip to Dr. Randall Williams of Raleigh, North Carolina for compiling and sharing some (most) of these stats


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