Let’s start this off by saying that my view on this is apolitical. I don’t care which side of the fence you’re on, or if you think you can precariously balance in the middle–with no substantives changes in the adoption of prevention of chronic disease in this country NO ONE can afford what’s coming.
You can shift who’s paying. You can shift how much we pay for stuff. You can shift cost sharing around. But when the burden of chronic disease, just taking diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s in account, how is society going to pay for care of half the population when the costs of care per year exceed, say, $100K per sick person?
Could you and your neighbor, spouse or significant other each kick in $50K to pay when one of the two of you needs open heart surgery? Heck–let’s say the surgery is done in a basement somewhere and the cost is reduced to a measly $10K apiece? Can you fork that over?
And, WOULD you fork it over if your neighbor watched tv all day, had more dust on his treadmill than the moon and every Monday his garbage can at the curb is filled with beer cans and fast food bags? This is a very, very serious question we all need to contemplate.
You’re all invited next time my mother and I have a “discussion” where she feels everyone deserves healthcare regardless of how poorly someone takes care of themselves (liver transplants for alcoholics, anyone?) and I feel that personal responsibility trumps all and to a certain degree we need to face financial responsibility for our poor lifestyle choices. It can get quite animated. She is, of course, wrong.
So, as the Obamacare plan plays out with only token attention to true prevention, remember that, regardless of who pays for it, we cannot afford where we are headed. When health”care” spending is 50% of GDP because no one is truly responsible for their actions because entitlement insurance is there to catch you when you fall (which, as we’ve addressed before, is a really false security net), maybe Nabisco, Kraft, Kellogg’s and McDonalds can come up with the new plan.
Remember–the only true answer is, always has been and always will be, prevention through healthy lifestyle changes.