True Health Care Reform Lies in a Relentless Campaign Focused On America's Unhealthy Lifestyle

When I talk to Europeans about our respective health care systems, we always reach the same conclusion. If a person has a traumatic, life-threatening illness, s(he) wants to be treated in America — assuming access to insurance or personal financial resources.

If we’re talking the general level of healthy wellbeing of a people and the treatment of non-catastophic illness — the kind the majority of people experience —  you’re better off in Europe. Well-documented studies reinforce these conclusions.

Dr. Frank Lipman, founder and director of the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center in New York lays out the issues, from his point of view in a Huff Po piece: True Health Care Reform - 10 Missing Pieces.

Dr. Lipman then outlines 10 lifestyle steps to a solution.

Yes, the recommendations tend to be lifestyle driven. But aren’t most of America’s health problems driven by lifestyle decisions around diet and exercise?

Just yesterday, researchers printed a mind-jolting piece of health research about brains shrinking in overweight and obese Americans.

The parts of the brain shrinking are those systems governing rational thinking faculties, balance and other wellness must-haves for an effective daily existence. Indeed, fast food can make us stupid!

Before trivializing steps to launch a national wellness campaign focused on eating healthy fruits and veggies — because it won’t keep anyone alive who’s already full of lung cancer from smoking — health care reformers must acknowledge that America is headed in a ruinous direction, driven by lifestyle decisions and poor eating habits.

America’s national tendency to “blow off” the documented facts of bad eating habits, hardly sounds like the nation that landed on the beaches of Normandy. In 2009, we are “hear no evil; see no evil” creatures of sweet, comfort-food, I’m stressed out habits.

Seriously, I think we’re a nation of pansies at this point — me included sometimes.

Granted, the pharma companies don’t enhance stockholder value telling us to eat broccoli and give up red meat. And our determination as a country to beat the big diseases into a bloody pulp is noble.

Bottom line, America refuses to face the increasingly undeniable facts, on the subject of health and wellness.

Dr. Lipman’s list of wise investments in health care sounds unAmerican — given the country’s preference for national life support on machines, rather than changing our eating habits. But the doctor’s unwelcome list might be one of the wisest health care investments America could make.

America’s Growing Love of Heart Attacks, Cancer, Diabetes and Other Critical Illnesses

Massive heart attackThe question is: are we fined for not following Dr. Lipman’s exceptionally good advice around healthy eating?  Just kidding. It’s our national responsibility to eat whatever we want and worry about the results another day. We can always print more money.  Anne

The issues, according to Dr. Frank Lipman:

  1. We have an outrageously expensive medical system. Our costs are more than double that of any other country.
  2. In spite of the expense, over 45 million of our citizens have no coverage, whereas most other developed countries insure everyone.
  3. Our system doesn’t work well for preventing and treating the chronic diseases that are causing our costs to skyrocket.
  4. According to the World Health Organization’s rankings, the U.S. (health-care system) is 37th in overall performance.
  5. Our system is not particularly safe. Millions of people are hospitalized annually or suffer from serious side effects of properly prescribed drugs or medical errors.

The solutions:

  1. Invest in educating the public in self care.
  2. Motivate people by rewarding lifestyle changes that foster health.
  3. Educate doctors and other healthcare practitioners in nutrition, exercise, stress reduction techniques and natural remedies.
  4. Reimburse doctors for their time in preventing and managing chronic diseases.
  5. Practice the precautionary principle.
  6. Protect our food supply and encourage healthy eating.
  7. Feed our children healthily and educate them responsible.
  8. Subsidize healthy foods like fruits and vegetables.
  9. Remove corporate infouence from healthcare.
  10. 10 Give everyone freedom of choice.