I Can’t Afford to Get Sick

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I can’t afford to get sick. I have known this for a while now and as I get older I think about it more and more. I am one of the almost 50 million Americans without medical insurance.  I haven’t had any since I went into business for myself ten years ago. Now I can’t afford it and the last time I tried to get it I was turned down, not because of any major illness in my medical history, I have none, but because I was 25 pounds over weight.

My sister had colon cancer at age 24 and lost her medical insurance when her husband lost his job. Now she only has catastrophic medical coverage. She has a huge deductible and none of the preventative checkups (like her yearly colonoscopy to check for precancerous polyps and remove them) are covered now.

Our healthcare system is not about prevention of disease and keeping people well and productive, instead it is about managing the diseases that are making us sicker and sicker as a country, and turning a tidy profit at the  same time.

 
The business of healthcare is big business. Americans pay more for healthcare than any other civilianized country in the world.  Many people believe that because it is the most expensive it must be the best. One expert says this is a myth, and the “reality is: The World Health Organization recently rated America 37th in health outcomes, on par with Serbia.”

 
He also informs us that “approximately three-fourths of all Americans die from preventable degenerative diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes” and that now “eight percent of all Americans have diabetes” and that the numbers are increasing not decreasing.  

Another expert believes that the priorities of our federal health agencies are skewed. He sites an example going back to 2006, ”out of the $8.6 billion budget the Centers for Disease Control received, they spent less then half a percent of the budget ($41 million) on the category of nutrition, physical activity and obesity.

They spent $1.6 billion on terrorism. In other words we spent 40 times more on the health risks of terrorism than on the health risks of obesity, when obesity kills about 400 thousand people every year. And why, I wonder is the CDC spending our tax dollars on terrorism instead of preventing disease and promoting health?

 
The overwhelming dysfunction of the healthcare system and our government’s gross inability to reform the system can make one feel disheartened and disenfranchised enough to want to give up.  Well we can’t, because these are our lives we are fighting for.

One of the ways I fight back is to educate myself by finding those pioneering teachers who are leading the way, fighting the status quo and empowering people with the facts. Dr. Andrew Weil is one such pioneer and an expert in field of healthcare. The preceding quotes are from his 2009 best seller, You Can’t Afford to Get Sick.

Dr. Weil has been at the forefront of changing not just the model of health and healthcare in this country, but our very attitudes about our health, and what the whole picture must include.  He is still hard at work for the cause of health and he is coming out with a new book in November of this year, Spontaneous Happiness, where he raises important concerns about the current trends of our emotional and mental health and how they are being treated by today’s healthcare system.

While it is invaluable and empowering to read the books of great teachers like Dr. Weil, it is even better to see them speak in person.  And when you can share the experience with your local community it gets better still. So here’s GOOD NEWS:  we are bringing Dr. Andrew Weil to Bend.  My name is Sarah Whipple and together with my husband Fred Swisher, through our businesses Bend Pine Nursery, Sculptural Landscapes, Swisher Seminars and with the help of our many generous and supportive community sponsors, we are bringing Dr. Weil to Bend, January 16, 2012.  There will be two events: A luncheon with the City Club of Central Oregon with Dr. Andrew Weil at St. Charles Hospital and an evening seminar at Bend High Auditorium.

To celebrate Dr. Weil coming to Bend and to keep improving my own personal health, I have been reading many of Weil’s books.  What I have learned from my reading over the past three months is that health is not static. Weil says “Health is a dynamic and temporary state of equilibrium….”  

The balance exists when all systems of a human being are working together, creating health.   Our health is a journey, one we all must take. It is our choice to do so consciously or unconsciously.  I choose to be conscious now instead of becoming sick and being forced into it.  I invite you to join the journey. Over the next four issues of CBN, I will be offering you the opportunity to become more aware and more proactive on your own journey toward better health.  I will share with you more of Dr. Weil’s wisdom and real actions we can take toward the wholeness and balance that is health. Stay Tuned.

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