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Rising Healthcare Costs…Wake up or Shut up

Time magazine article on healthcare costs

Time magazine article on healthcare costs

My idea for this article came from an article from the New York Times titled U.S. Drug Costs Dropped in 2012, but Rises Loom. The article is thought-provoking & along with other pieces like this one from Time magazine, create discussion around the outrageous cost of healthcare in the U.S. It is my opinion, however, that while the discussion surrounding the fact that a cancer diagnosis means absolute bankruptcy (even for the insured) is a necessary one, we are missing a crucial piece of the debate: preventative behavior.  This line from the New York Times article really sums up my frustration with this whole topic:

The potential for higher spending on drugs comes as the nation is struggling over how to contain the cost of health care, which many experts agree is a major threat to the country’s fiscal condition.

-Katie Thomas, New York Times

I highlighted that particular part of the sentence because it is incredible to me how we are missing the boat on this opportunity to really institute the kind of education that could turn our country’s health problems around. We are struggling to pay for our healthcare costs because we, as a nation, are so ill that we cannot function without putting billions of dollars a year into the pockets of pharmaceutical companies who PLAY US LIKE CARDS when it comes to taking charge of our own health. Please note that, when I say we as a nation are ill, I am talking about preventable disease associated with obesity like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, and some cancers. These diseases, and the astronomical cost associated with treating them, are PREVENTABLE. They do NOT need to happen and they do NOT need to be paid for by you or your family.

Let’s do some simple math. Here are the numbers just for the cost of treating diabetes in the US in 2012. [1]

  • $245 billion: Total costs of diagnosed diabetes in the United States in 2012healthcare-money1
  • $176 billion for direct medical costs
  • $69 billion in reduced productivity

How much money per year is spent on gym memberships? About .004% of the amount spent on treating diabetes. Diabetes can be cured by exercise and proper diet, an option that is pennies compared to what is costs to take insulin, or take Metformin, or get your foot amputated because of nerve disease never mind the cost to your quality of life by being obese and sick.

Unless we start taking care of ourselves by taking charge of our health, we are doomed to be poor and sick. This is the age of endless, free information; take this blog as an example. It is free to read, informs you on topics important to your health, and has the potential to empower you to make lasting changes in your life. We have to step up to the plate, put on our big kid panties, and stop being so  lazy. Don’t eat crappy food and exercise every day & you can avoid the debt, heartache, and loss associated with preventative illness. Every time you take the lazy road when it comes to your health and wellness, you put more of YOUR MONEY in the pockets of doctors, hospitals, and big pharma.

Information is free, people! Arm yourself with the knowledge to take care of yourself and your family and you will never need to see yourself or your loved ones suffer because of preventable illness.

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[1] http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/diabetes-statistics/

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