Healthcare, and the cost of healthcare, evokes strong opinions and heated debate. The Affordable Care Act dominates much of the discussion. The question on most people’s minds is do we protect, repeal, or replace the Affordable Care Act. No doubt important questions. Yet, I believe, two additional questions must be raised. Does our current healthcare system adequately address our future healthcare needs? And do our current lifestyle choices impact our future healthcare needs?
20th Century HealthCare
The 20th century system health care delivered the “acute” care model. Medical advances in diagnosis, medications, and surgical techniques succeeded in treating many illnesses, diseases and prolonging life. Yet, consider these details:
- Complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders are increasing. Childhood obesity is at an all time high and the incidence of autism is exploding.
- Medical professionals study based upon the acute care model and have been for over 100 years. As a result, the healthcare system is ill-equipped to deal with the burden of chronic disease and pain management.
- 75% of healthcare cost is attributed to chronic conditions. Chronic conditions can not be cured by taking a pill or undergoing a particular medical treatment.
- Pesticides, GMO’s, Hormone Disruptors and industrial chemicals expose our bodies to increased risk. Toxins in personal care and home cleaning products enlarge our risk as well. Increasingly, research is uncovering the long term impact on our health due to these factors.
21st Century healthCare
Here are 4 reasons why:
- Toxins and chemicals have been in foods and products that we use everyday for decades. The Environmental Working Group studied the bloodstream of 10 Americans. The 10 Americans were in utero, unborn fetuses. The study revealed 287 toxic chemicals already in their bloodstream, transmitted, by the mother, to the womb.
- Manufacturers produce based upon cost. Their goal is to enhance sales and profit margins. We purchase based upon cost and assume that we get the higher value. Most noteworthy, every personal and household cleaning product can be manufactured without harmful toxic chemicals. All foods can be grown organically. Therefore, why do we purchase the items that we purchase?
- Government woefully lacks regulations that protect our long term public health.
- Insurance premiums and deductibles increase annually and impact our ability to seek healthcare.
The Institute of Functional Medicine researches many of these issues and they pioneer new strategies for 21st century healthcare. Nutrition, gastrointestinal dysfunction, food sensitivities, allergies, intolerances, autoimmune deficiencies, and patient/practitioner relationships are major topic areas. But ask yourself this critical question: Can we afford to wait for the medical community to catch up with what is already happening in our bodies? No is the clear answer!!
Be The solution that you want to see
The key component is going to be us. We, as consumers, must assume responsibility, educate ourselves and take control of what we eat and who we seek for our healthcare needs. Who are the medical professionals that know how to deal with chronic conditions? What products or foods should we replace to enhance or improve our long term health? As we act, in the marketplace, purchasing those items that promote well-being and a healthy lifestyle, won’t producers have to change? And, if the marketplace doesn’t change, then we have the knowledge that we, at a minimum, improved our health and well-being. There is a reason why more and more people are going “green”. We need to be the change that we want to see.
What are your thoughts? Would love to get your perspective.