"Americans get sick more. Why? Some argue that rather than an effective healthcare system, the United States has a "disease care" system, whereby far too many people are sedentary and eat poorly, leading to obesity and other health issues (obesity, in turn, raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, some cancers, and other diseases). Add smoking into the mix — the elimination of it would cause U.S. life expectancy to rise significantly."
"The key data to support this: While the U.S. life expectancy is 78, it is 80 in the UK, 81 in Canada, and 83 in Japan, according to the World Health Organization."
However, just using the statistics on smoking doesn't support this charge. Of the countries mentioned in the previous quote, each one has the same per person consumption of cigarettes.
The percentage of female smokers is the same in all the named countries and the male smokers were identical except for Japan which actually has a higher smoking rate.
Obesity statistics suggest that the United States ranks near the top compared to the other countries indicated.
"Until the people rise up, literally off the couch and figuratively to take care of themselves — health care vs. disease care 101 — we can all expect healthcare to cost a fortune."
So apparently the reason why health-care costs are high, is because we try to use our system. Obviously if we got sick less frequently then we would be using fewer services and consequently costs would go down.
I'm not real clear on why having fewer patients is suddenly going to make services and equipment cheaper, but that's the kind of economic thinking that has prevailed for years, so it's not terribly surprising. If health care, is a scarce resource then it would make sense to produce more doctors, but that doesn't seem to be on anyone's radar either. Of course, we've seen that the only definitive way prices come down is from economies of scale, which invariably requires having MORE customers so that the cost can be spread across more participants. Then again, I'm not responsible for the profitability of insurance companies, so I suspect my idea wouldn't be greeted with much enthusiasm.
So when someone suggests that "fast food" isn't healthy, they are met with the diatribes about how people can make their own choices and these companies shouldn't be held to account (although no one seems that understanding about tobacco companies). When fast food franchises and soda machines set up operation in our local schools, then that is considered a reasonable choice? Then there is the never-ending range of commercials and advertisements for fast food (although we're concerned enough to not allow tobacco advertisements, while alcohol seems to be acceptable).
In short, the article proposes no solution beyond the fact that if we took better care of ourselves then we wouldn't need the health care and consequently it wouldn't be so expensive. So here's a suggestion; make obesity, smoking, and alcohol consumption a pre-existing condition. Then we can save a fortune in our health-care costs and finally reach our objective; a health-care system that only caters to healthy people.