In honor of the fact that the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is upon us, I thought it might be an appropeaux time to posit a few thoughts on an empowered alternative to government run “health care.” Like broccoli for instance.
Hopefully there is not a one of us that would argue the virtues of personal responsibility so at a time when the government is aiming to get involved in some of the most intimate aspects of our lives I think a healthy dose of independence is in order. Understand, my suspicious opinion of the upcoming overtake of healthcare and insurance is not related to the huge hearted providers in this field who serve their patients and their profession with commitment and compassion. It is related to the fact that our government possesses not just a lack luster performance record, but has proven itself as whole to be thoroughly inept when it comes to creating or applying any sort of true common sense based reform.
Admittedly I have not endeavored to become an authority on the upcoming changes or their implementation. I will also readily concede that Insurance and the Health Care business are ailing entities, but to put your wellness in the hands of Uncle Sam feels akin to asking my five year old to take care of the baby. At best unwise and at worse…a disaster of epic proportions.
As laughable as this anecdote may seem, bear with me. Greg, myself and the kids made a stop at Whole Foods the other day and there happened to be a wildly entertaining gentleman at the store doing a Vitamix demo. This guy was whipping up everything from smoothies to Frappuccino’s to tortilla soup in a REALLY expensive blender. He had all four of my kids drinking some bright green concoction and ravenously reaching for more. What sort of magic machine is this I ask!?
So as I’m standing in Whole Foods surrounded by green goop drinking kids it occurs to me that I am far more concerned about their health and well-being than Obama Care will ever be. In fact I am far more invested than any doctor, specialist, pediatrician or any other professional I may want to lean on. While it may be their job to care for their patients, it is my life to care for mine. To be sure this is not a criticism, but rather an acceptance of the fact that if I CARE the most I need to DO the most. I need to educate myself on what is going to keep my family well and healthy and going strong. And it could be as simple as opting for peas rather than a prescription. I may just need to look into muesli rather than medicine.
I was recently talking with a friend who mentioned that in the rural areas of China, each village tends to have a doctor. And if you get sick, the doctor doesn’t get paid. Why? Because his job is to keep you well. What a concept! As well, I have recently learned that the United States has 5% of the world’s population and consumes 95% if the world’s supply of pain pills. So while we may be able to conjure images of haze filled opium dens in the Far East the alarming reality is that Americans are the ones who can’t get enough of the stuff. Apparently we pop pain pills like they were M&M’s and wonder why we are unwell. On a personal note, I was talking to my doctor about a particular procedure and her response was, “insurance doesn’t prevent, it just treats.” Okie dokie. So bottom line; prevention is my job and your job, and we all better get on board and learn how to make a killer smoothie.
I am certainly no expert on this topic, but I think I may need to become one. I may need to get my own personal PhD in how to partner with nature and knowledge in order to keep myself and my family as healthy as possible. While I wouldn’t shun modern medicine for a nanosecond in an emergent situation, perhaps day in and day out I need to do better. I need to step up to the plate, literally, and make sure most of it has something green and leafy on it. I need to really dwell on the reality that each and every one our bodies are miraculous machines and we need to equip this wondrous organism with the tools to help, heal and be vibrant.
Now that I’ve arrived at accepting responsibility for educating myself and the work that comes along with wellness, I would like for someone to lock all the “experts” in a room and have them hash out one true Wisdom on this topic. Should we all be vegans or is eating like a cave man the healthier approach? Are eggs good for us or should we steer clear? Is raw food the fountain of youth or is it found in a shot of vodka every day? Are whole grains the golden ticket to feeling like a million bucks or is there a darn good reason why Atkins has made millions? Should we be eating carbs or cutting them, and is there a solid reason why we’re avoiding gluten like the plague? How exactly is grass-fed beef different from other beef and why is the price per pound for this stuff higher than the going rate on gold? Does milk really do a body good or is the dairy industry the Evil Empire? Should we be obsessing about non-fat, low fat or “good fat?” Call me crazy, but I don’t think our bodies are nearly as trendy as the most recent best seller on how to lose 15 pounds in 15 minutes. I think there is one truth and I’d really love to know it and get on the fast track. I don’t have the answers, but I do desire the wisdom, so I will continue to take to heart the notion that wellness isn’t just a choice, it’s a job and I’m the one responsible for doing it.
So I guess that leaves me with one true option. Realizing that wellness is a choice we make, not a policy we buy and I’d rather see a naturopath than navigate co-pays. It isn’t just about the quantity of our time, but the quality of our lives.