The statistic that 1 in 5 Americans can’t afford healthcare was being reported on my morning news today. The fact that twenty percent of our population can’t afford healthcare is alarming to say the least, so what can we do about it?
As it is for business owners, there is sometimes only a few things they can do in order to control their cost of doing business. They have little control of their cost of goods from other vendors, we have little control over the cost of our healthcare. Our local businesses have no control over the cost of their utilities and often no control over a majority of their expenses going to necessary outside sources. They are at the mercy of others not to raise their cost of doing business. We are in a similar predicament as we have no control over the rising cost of healthcare each year.
From US National Library of Medicine, National Institute of Health
In an era of rising health care costs and budget constraints, an increasing number of Americans have difficulty paying for needed health care services. Among the uninsured, finding a provider who offers affordable services is challenging at best, and the wait for an appointment with a provider offering free or reduced-price services can be considerable.1 For those with Medicaid coverage, state budget constraints may affect their eligibility for coverage, the services offered, or their ability to find a provider willing to accept the Medicaid fee schedule.2 Those with Medicare face copayments and bear the rising costs of prescription medications.3 Even the privately insured may face difficulties paying for care with rising premiums, deductibles, and copayments, and private plans that may not cover an adequate amount of their costs to ensure access to quality health care.
Recently, there have been renewed calls for universal health insurance coverage in the United States.17 While such coverage would help those who are currently uninsured, the extent to which they might continue to have problems paying for care under private or public insurance is unknown. Data from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that 6.8% of adults reported problems paying for care despite having private or public health care coverage.18
What can we do when our insurance costs rise?
Can we control the cost of our medicines?
Are we able to do anything about our unaffordable healthcare cost?
There may not be anything we can do about the cost of our health insurance, but we can control the cost of our medicines and healthcare. You have more control than you probably know, but are you willing to do anything about it?
Do you feel helpless when you can’t afford healthcare?
Having a spouse with breast cancer and a couple of other health issues, I know first hand about the cost of health care. If you have never had a major illness in your home, you can’t imagine the costs associated with cancer. We have sky high medical costs on top of superhigh cost of medical insurance to add insult to injury. The charges to my insurance provider over the last year and a half are just about a million dollars now, and still rising. So yes, I am writing from knowledge and experience.
What you can do when you can’t afford healthcare.
You can begin to control your healthcare cost by controlling the way you live your life. You can choose to eat healthy foods in moderation, or not. We can make choices to be more active or we can choose to be sedentary. The way we live our lives is a matter of choices we have made in the past, present, and future. Unless you are debilitated already, you do have control over your life. Our limitations usually come from within rather from outside of us. Choose to live as healthy as you possibly can if you can’t afford healthcare cost.
As reported by the Center for Disease Control, there are four main risk factors for preventable chronic diseases:
lack of physical activity
and excessive alcohol use.
You have control over these life factors!
Overweight and Obesity
Eating a healthy diet, along with getting enough physical activity and sleep, can help children grow up healthy and prevent overweight and obesity. In the United States, 19% of young people aged 2 to 19 years and 40% of adults have obesity, which can put them at risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers. In addition, obesity costs the US health care system $147 billion a year. (1)
Heart Disease and Stroke
Two of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke are high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol. Consuming too much sodium can increase blood pressure and the risk for heart disease and stroke. Current guidelines recommend getting less than 2,300 mg a day, but Americans consume more than 3,400 mg a day on average.
Over 70% of the sodium that Americans eat comes from packaged, processed, store-bought, and restaurant foods. Eating foods low in saturated fats and high in fiber and increasing access to low-sodium foods, along with regular physical activity, can help prevent high blood cholesterol and high blood pressure. (1)
Type 2 Diabetes
People who are overweight or have obesity are at increased risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those at a normal weight because, over time, their bodies become less able to use the insulin they make. Of US adults, 88 million—more than 1 in 3—have prediabetes, and more than 8 in 10 of them don’t know they have it. Although incidence has decreased in recent years, the number of adults with diagnosed diabetes has nearly doubled in the last 2 decades as the US population has increased, aged, and become more overweight. (1)
An unhealthy diet can increase the risk of some cancers. Overweight and obesity are associated with at least 13 types of cancer, including endometrial (uterine) cancer, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, and colorectal cancer. These cancers make up 40% of all cancers diagnosed. (1)
Yes, bad things do happen to good people.
Of course, there are a few who have lived perfect lives and still had health problems. It would be ignorant to believe otherwise. However, the vast majority of us do have control over our health, but choose to do nothing to improve it.
Cigarette smoking is known to trash our lungs and cause cancer, but people still choose to light up.
Overeating of poor foods that create preventable illness over time is a matter of personal choices. The cost of healthy foods appears to be higher than the cost of cheap low nutrition foods. However, the resulting cost of healthcare from poor nutrition voids the money saved at the grocery store in a big way. We can choose what we place into our grocery cart and what we stock our pantries with. No one is forcing any of us to eat foods with added sugars, more specifically, processed foods. Remember, foods with fewer ingredients are almost always going to be the healthiest for us.
If you can’t afford healthcare, you can’t afford to be sedentary.
Physical inactivity, along with alcohol and tobacco use along with poor nutrition, are increasingly becoming part of today’s lifestyle. These factors are leading to the rapid rise of diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, or obesity. Chronic diseases caused by these risk factors are now the leading causes of death in almost every part of world.
It costs you nothing to get up and move your body. Going for a daily walk has a great cost to benefit ratio. When you choose to take walks, you get the most restorative exercise there is for absolutely nothing but your time. Think about this article the next time you consider how the high cost of health care affects you. When we can’t afford healthcare, we also can’t afford to not take take care of our own health. It is a given that when you live a sedentary lifestyle and consume unhealthy foods every day of your life, there will eventually be consequences.
Life is all about choices, choose wisely my friends.
David’s Way to Health and Fitness can also be found on Facebook. Look for us at Fit and Healthy living with David’s Way!