Missing From The Healthcare Debate

Is really addressing the health issue in this country. Want to bring costs down? Address that issue for starters. For example, the leading causes of death in the United States from 2006:

Heart disease: 631,636
Cancer: 559,888
Stroke (cerebrovascular diseases): 137,119
Chronic lower respiratory diseases: 124,583
Accidents (unintentional injuries): 121,599
Diabetes: 72,449
lzheimer’s disease: 72,432
Influenza and Pneumonia: 56,326
Nephritis, nephrotic syndrome, and nephrosis: 45,344
Septicemia: 34,234

Start looking at how many of those have a personal factor in them, i.e. how diet and exercise plays a role in preventing these deaths. Then think about the health issues many of these cause and the long term costs of dealing with those. Pretty huge numbers.

The American diet is pathetic. We eat too much sugar, too much processed foods, the wrong types of fat, and overeat. Then look at our exercise level, also really bad. People in general don’t get near enough exercise.

What can we do about this? Very little. One could argue that if we are going to tax tobacco due to its health risks we should do the same for foods that are bad for us. I’m not a fan of taxes myself. I rather see the cost burden shifted back to the individual, with a tax credit for purchasing your own insurance if you want too. Let people start seeing the total cost of health and maybe they might make some changes in their lifestyle. I tend to doubt it but one can hope.

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