The Supreme Court has just upheld (sort of) President Obama’s Affordable Care Act individual mandate, requiring Americans to obtain health insurance or pay (a tax penalty). Many who debate the ruling feel that it is unconstitutional…that one shouldn’t be “required” to buy health insurance. It should be a choice, not a mandate. Personally, what I struggle with has nothing to do with the law itself, it has to do with why this law has had to come into existence. Pure and simple, it is due to two factors: 1) our nation’s lack of health as a whole, 2) the medical system’s inefficiencies and financial spending due to a highly litigious society. Personally, I’d like to focus on #1, as I believe that #2 is already under some (maybe not enough but some) consideration.
There is no denying that health care costs continue to rise, but a good portion of those costs can be directly attributed to the health of our nation. Statistics show that 3 out of 4 individuals are overweight or obese, and that $190 billion of health care costs (21%) can be directly attributed to obesity. If you ask me, that is a big chunk of change.
Instead of spending time and energy on laws that support these rising costs due to our nation’s lifestyle choices, why not focus on laws that inspire lifestyle change that will help reduce costs? By no means is this a simple solution, but it surely is a long-term solution that if implemented correctly, benefits all involved: healthier and happier Americans, less visits to doctors, lower rates of preventable disease, and yes, lower health care costs all around. Further, corporations win because their employees will actually be more productive and happier.
Isn’t it time that our citizens take responsibility for their health and for their influence on health care costs?
What are your thoughts on this difficult issue?