For all the Republican backlash about “government intervention” in the health insurance industry (not health care- as the two have little in common)- how about we add in some new rules to cut health care costs considerably?
These comments from the ultra-conservative David Frum on the September 2nd American Public Radio show Marketplace are right on the money:
DAVID FRUM: How much does health care matter, really? The numbers suggest that for most of us individual behaviors matter more than anything doctors do.
The U.S. spends 60 percent more of national income on health care than the other advanced countries. Yet American life expectancy ranks below Italy’s and Portugal’s.
Let me suggest four simple actions to extend and improve American life and save hundreds of billions of dollars.
- Everybody wear a seatbelt. Even now, one-fifth of American motorists go unbelted. The National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration projects that more than 1,600 lives could be saved and more than 22,000 serious injuries prevented every year if Americans wore their seat belts as often as Germans and Brits do.
- Smokers: please quit. One-fifth of Americans currently smoke, and almost 9 million Americans suffer a smoking-related disease. We spend $75 billion per year treating those who will die from smoking. Those who live will incur costs of tens of billions more.
- Everybody lose weight. Obesity is not nearly as lethal as smoking, but its health consequences are much more costly — about one health dollar in nine for everything from type 2 diabetes to premature hip and joint disease.
- Above all: If you’re a woman of childbearing years, please: take extra care of yourself. Our infant mortality statistics are awful, worse than Cuba’s.
It’s these infant deaths that pull down American life expectancy overall. Once Americans reach 65, American life expectancy ranks a respectable 9th in the world.Why so many infant deaths? The shockingly high American incidence of premature birth: about one baby in eight. And the most important causes of premature birth are controllable: smoking during pregnancy, drinking, drugs, maternal overweight, and sexually transmitted diseases.
So if we were to put our money on us- as the right wing always wants to do, like fund our own retirements (of course by investing in stocks that can tank)- and manage our own health care (dictated by our employers and big firms)- lets put it on you:
In a motor vehicle accident and not wearing a seat belt, or on a motorcycle without proper safety equipment? No coverage- it shows a disrespect to the others in your health insurance group.
You smoke- no coverage for any smoking related issues – no coverage. It’s out of pocket, or suffer. You chose to smoke.
Diabetes and you’re overweight? No coverage until you lose weight. Obesity surgery- you’re on your own.
Have a preemie and you smoked, did drugs, were too fat etc- you pay the full load, or agree to sterilization to gain coverage.
Yes, let’s hear it for personal responsibility- it will solve all problems.