Wednesday, March 16, 2011

on health and health care

the mckinsey quarterly report, an on line economics think-tank-like publication, comes from an economics/business perspective and articles deal with everything from banking to investing to market dynamics....to health care. why not? that's the fastest growing expense in our and the world's economies. in the US, we spend about 16+% of our GDP on health care, via government-provided and insurance-provided and employee-provided and personal, out of pocket provided health payments. uniquely, this report deals with one of the cost drivers -like that economics-y talk? from a fitness pro, no less? - that is within my scope of understanding: obesity, and other lifestyle-related diseases.

i'm not going to try to summarize all it said in too much detail. let it suffice to say that a public-private effort must be made to bring down obesity rates to that of 1980 - about 15% of the population, starting with kids. clearly mrs. obama's efforts are well-taken but without the cooperation of other government entities - being gutted by the GOP's slash and burn policy of defunding anything that speaks to the masses, i.e. those who don't have the means to pay the outrageous costs of their own health care or education - her calls to action are likely for naught. at the same time without government interference on behalf of wellness - against the economic interests of providers of health services, the payers for health services (read: insurers), and the purveyors of anti-health (read: food industry), depending on the mass consciousness change toward improving diet and engaging exercise is fraught with pipe dreams.

so what to do?

well the report does not give specifics; it's more a call to action itself. if you're reading this, you are likely concerned enough about health care, your own and maybe our nation's, to already be taking action to ensure against those diseases you have some power over. the formula is the same whether for overwt-ness or for diabetes or for heart disease as it is for athletics at any level: eat right, exercise appropriately. obviously, if you are afflicted with diseases which can be affected by this formula, your mandate runs higher than if you are disease free. but if you are even AT RISK for disease because of lifestyle choices made 10, 20, even 50 yrs ago, then now's the time to act. after all, don't count on the government acting rationally or the food industry acting patriotically to reduce your, or our health care costs:

https://www.mckinseyquarterly.com/Health_Care/Hospitals/Three_imperatives_for_improving_US_health_care_2274

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Dr.Irv