It Is Not Government's Job to Keep Us Healthy.


Kudos to the folks who are advancing alternatives to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acfs overregulated and expensive health insurance policies. Small business association health plans and expanding health savings accounts (HSAs) are among several tools to increase health-care choices.

However, one element in the medical care cost analysis that rarely is addressed is personal responsibility for one's health. Politicians are reluctant to "blame the victim" (patients), so they criticize the health-care "system." That misses the point: it is not the government's job to keep us healthy.

Estimates of 2016 U.S. health care spending averages $10,345-per-person. Purchasing insurance makes up the bulk of the spending: $3,852 annual insurance premium, $4,358 to meet the deductible, for a total of $8,210--but most of the actual spending on medical care is for five percent of the population, mainly for chronic conditions. Eighty-six percent of the nation's 2.7 trillion dollar annual health-care expenditures are for people with chronic and mental-health conditions.

It takes more than good luck to maintain good health. Up to 40% of lost years of life from each of five leading U.S. causes--heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, stroke, and unintentional injuries--are preventable, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Opiate use disorder jumped from 52nd on the list in 1990 to 15th in 2016.

Research suggests that behaviors, such as smoking, poor diet, overeating, and lack of exercise are the most-important determinants of premature death. Over the last 25 years, the percentage of Americans with healthy lifestyles (exercise, good diet, "normal" body fat, nonsmoking) has dropped from 6.8% to three percent. More than two-thirds of adults and nearly one-third of children and youth in the U.S. either are overweight or obese.

The CDC reports that 9.3% of Americans have diabetes. Will this problem be solved by expanding government "health care" programs?--absolutely not. In 1965, when Medicare and Medicaid were established, 1.2% of Americans had diabetes. This number had doubled by 1975, even with more sources for medical care, and continued to rise at the same rate despite the implementation of PPACA.

The American Diabetes Association estimates that, in 2017, diabetes and its related complications accounted for $237,000,000,000 in direct medical costs--a 26% increase from 2012. The price of poor lifestyle...

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