More on health care…and caring for your health…

Let me take this opportunity to respond to the comments on my last post. First of all, thanks for all of the comments. I think it’s great to see people expressing a variety of perspectives, which forms the foundation for an intelligent and thoughtful conversation. And this should really be encouraged. Society should be built on civil and thoughtful discussions about issues that matter. It is really scary and mind boggling sometimes when some people, especially those who are elected into office, automatically shoot down ideas without any discussion just because they are proposed by the opposition. In order to move not just this country but any country forward, healthy and thoughtful conversations are so essential if we want to progress at all.

It should be clear that it is my belief that health care is something that everybody should have access to. Using Obama’s words, I think it is our “moral obligation” as a society to make sure that everybody has access to health care and most importantly, to good health. And there should be no compromise there. Health care should be accessible to everyone. When I moved to New York City, I came with no health insurance. I was shocked to find that buying insurance in the city STARTS at $200/month. There is medicaid available, but you have to make less that $18,000/year at the time in order to qualify. So, there is assumption that we should be able to afford health insurance if you make over $18K/year, along with the $1000/mon rent, utilities, and whatever other expenses you might have. I was making about $20K/year at the time as a freelancer, and it doesn’t take a genius to see that $200/mon health insurance just can’t be in the budget with that kind of a salary.

In any case, I think some of my views in my previous post might not have come across clearly for some people. So I’m going to take this time to clarify my stance. I want to go back to one of the main issues that may not sit well with the anti-health care movement: cost.

Health care will cost money, there’s no question about it. It’s not cheap to make sure everybody is covered. But there are ways to make sure that we keep the cost of health care down. I think it should be obvious to a lot of people that if we have a healthier population, the cost of health care should go down. And it is no secret that this country is not exactly the healthiest country in the world. Why is that? Despite the recession, the US is still doing very well compared to many other countries. And a lot of us like to indulge ourselves with excessive unhealthy habits. Instead, we could invest some of our resources to promote healthy habits and prevention. I think in the end, this is way cheaper than sending someone to the hospital.

Now, in the end it is up to the individual to be healthy. And I stress that no one can make anybody else to live healthily. What I am simply advocating for is for the government to encourage healthy living, not tell people what to eat and what not to eat. I think making healthy foods more accessible to the general public is one way. Creating incentives for healthy living is also another way. Something as simple as routine physical check-ups (something that prompted me to start this blog in the first place) should be encouraged. We could get tax credits for joining and actually going to the gym is a good incentive. Buying organic foods and drink could also be a tax credit. Those are just some ideas, but I’m sure others could come up with more. But there’s only so much a government can do. Like I said, it is all up to us as individuals to be healthy and a government that encourages this can never be a bad government.

There’s something fishy about this commercial…

So here’s a commercial about a mother who is trying to ‘make ends meet’. We assume that this mother wants what’s best for her children. We assume that she wants her children to lead healthy lives. We assume she wants her kids to stay away from unhealthy foods. And what do we see in her groceries? What did she buy that she’s trying to ‘make ends meet’? Soda, juice, instant drinks. What’s wrong with this picture? The last time I checked, most mothers would want their kids to avoid these drinks. Most mothers would want their kids to drink more water instead of sugary drinks. So if this mother represents the typical good mother, why is she standing up for these drinks? There are two possible answers, either this mother is a terrible mother or this commercial is paid for by the businesses who want to keep making the big bucks from these drinks. What do you think?