Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Health Care in Your Own Hands

As the year comes to a close, it seem inevitable that the current Senate Health Care bill will become legislation in some way, shape, or form. Sure, maybe it will be watered down without all of the goodies that the progressive left would like (i.e. public option), but everything in it will basically transform the health care "framework" into something we won't recognize.

Obviously, I've written several pieces laying out free market solutions that would achieve all of the items that plague our system. I won't re-write all of those opinions here, but I will say that no matter what the idiots in Washington do to our health delivery system, we still have the power to control our own destiny and our own health.

About 2 years ago, I really took a hard look at my health and felt rather frustrated with my body. I was not obese by any means, but I did feel unhealthy and uncomfortable inside my own skin. I am about 5'5" and weighed about 162lbs. Not skinny, but not fat. One day, something just snapped in me and said, "you can do better"... and I decided to change many of my habits. I started eating differently. I started running on my treadmill. I began doing resistance training with dumbbells and other exercise equipment (bands). Over the course of 3-4 months, I had lost close to 20lbs and weighed 140lbs. I had lost about a pound a week and I felt the best I had since high school. I had energy, stamina, and I was extremely lean. I also went in for a physical and got excellent results on all of my bio-metric results (cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure, etc). I basically felt like a million bucks.

I share all of these things because one of the best medicines and prescriptions to maintaining your own health care is to eat well, exercise, and do resistance training. Obviously, there are degrees to which one can measure how well you are doing, but the motivation must start within yourself and not be forced by anyone else. It makes absolute sense why we have a huge obesity problem in this country and why diabetes and other diseases are so widespread.

Now, I have no reason or motivation to point fingers at other who may not be in the best shape or who have no desire to make dramatic changes to how they eat or exercise. Everyone must make their own decision on how they want to live. I only raise these points as ways to not be dependent on anyone else for what you can control with your our own medical care with little or no cost to do it. There are so many cheap and easy ways to sustain a healthy life without having to go vegan, spend thousands of dollars on organic foods, or even sign up for rip off health insurance plans .

If we want to remove the stress and anxiety from what the charlatans in our government are doing, we should realize the power we hold deep within our being of the independence we have when take the initiative to chart our own courses in life.

We are sovereign individuals who can do anything we want when we put our minds to it. Let us never forget where that power comes from or where it resides. Do yourself a favor and start living your life today.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Health Care - Why Does It Cost So Much?

I'm curious to know what percentage of people who go to the emergency room do so because it is an actual emergency or because their liability to pay for said service in the emergency room is because some other entity is paying for it. What percentage of folks who use the emergency room are on Medicare, Medicaid, SCHIP, or some other State-sponsored health care (State's version of SCHIP)? I would think the percentage is pretty high.

Health care is a product/service just like any other consumable good (although it is somewhat inelastic since the doctor, nurse, surgeon requires a great deal of skill/education ). But the consumer hardly ever knows or is aware of the prices of what he/she is paying for when receiving a procedure. Thus, consumers have little if any incentive to shop around for the best value. When this happens, a distortion exists when calibrating supply and demand to allocate resources in the market.

Before the Great Society reforms (Medicare/Medicaid) and Health Maintenance act of 1973 (genesis of HMO style insurance) , patients used to pay their medical provider directly and providers had to be conscious of what they were charging to compete with other providers. Through these 2 reforms, the 3rd party payer (gov't/HMOs/Insurers) system transformed the free market of health care into a totally mixed market. One could argue that we have about a 50% single payer system with the gov't already deeply involved in dictating how care should be delivered.

But, instead of looking to the cause and affect through history and economics as our guide of learning how the free market has been totally distorted and has driven up costs... a majority of folks (namely in Washington) want MORE gov't control and distortion instead of less.

People should take responsibility for their health care and bear the sole responsibility of maintaining their care. They should be required to use the fruits of their labor to determine to what extent they are willing to pay for health care products and services just like individuals do for transportation, food, clothing, housing (which are far more essential goods than health care).

Catostrophic events do and will happen and life threatening disabilities, diseases, cancer, disorders, and other life-threatening things will affect people's health. But, that is where people should actually look for insurance to cover the unlikely or rare event instead of relying on it for every single element of ones health care.

It's really sad that our educational system is really deprived of applying the laws and science of economics and human action to the current debate of health care.

Hopefully what I've said will make people think more critically about health care when applying economics and history to this issue.