Many Americans have been following the discussions about the proposed Senate BCRA Health Bill and trying to figure out what it means for them personally we can say that our policy makers are confusing the American population and causing people to worry if they will have access to health insurance or not and whether they can afford it. Our society has been mostly reliant on others to determine what kind of healthcare they will have access to and when needed what type of care they will receive. U.S. health care spending has increased 5.8 percent to about $3.2 trillion a year, or $9,990 per person based on the National Health Expenditures 2015 Highlights published by CMS. This represents 17.8 percent of the overall share of the U.S. economy devoted to health care. Given these numbers it is obvious why people want to rely on our policy makers to try and correct the issues we are having in this sector.
As a licensed health insurance agency owner I am here to provide my opinion as to some of the ways we can help take back control of our own health care. As I talk to clients and try to figure out what it is that they want most, the number one thing people want is a good quality of life and to be healthy and happy. While I know that there are some conditions we can't control and do need the assistance of medical professionals we have to help ourselves by taking control of our own health. How can we do that you may ask? Well I believe one of the main ways is to monitor what we eat. Because of the Obesity problem that is becoming a global trend it is costing us our health and money. With access to fast and cheaper foods more available to us now than ever before we have to monitor what we put into our bodies. With the explosion of processed foods in our country and being able to make them cheaper, it is easier for people to grab these foods when out shopping at their local grocery markets and as a result our country has seen an obesity trend that is literally having a cost consequence as well as major health consequences. According to a Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health source on Economic Costs, "Treating obesity and obesity-related conditions costs billions of dollars a year. By one estimate, the U.S. spent $190 billion on obesity-related health care expenses in 2005-double previous estimates."
While I am not saying that eliminating all fast and processed foods is going to solve all of our problems it will be a step in the right direction to fixing our healthcare system in general. What is one of the ways that we can help reduce the costs? By really educating people on the negative impacts that these foods have on our bodies as well as budgets. I believe that educating our nation can have dramatic effects to our overall health and well being. As we see a decline in the amount of people smoking over the years, it had a large part do to the fact that our government increased taxes causing cigarettes to become more expensive and people not wanting to pay more but also because of the educational campaigns that our government invested in. If we look at The Real Cost Campaign, which is a Public Health Education Campaign by the FDA, we can see that with that campaign it was "associated with a 30% decrease in the risk for smoking initiation, preventing an estimated 350,000 U.S. youth ages 11-18 from smoking." So as we can see public education is a key part to solving issues.
While policy makers are continuing to fight in our nation's capital over the Affordable Care Act and repealing and replacing it I am urging you, that's right you to take a stand and help yourself be a part of the solution to our problems in health care. While I do believe that this is only a small part of the equation it can lead to bigger and better outcomes in the future of health care. In my next blog I will be discussing my opinions about the Senate Health Care Bill and how it will impact the millions of Americans that don't have health insurance and those that do have it. I welcome any comments or questions and hope that you become proactive in being a part of the solution and not the problem.