Now that the first installment of Obamacare has been rolled out, we have all been subjected to the grand mess it is turning out to be. Even if we assume (in a fantasy) that everyone behind government-mandated health care is a saint with honorable intentions, actions always have unintended consequences (I’ve talked about the pitfalls of the Affordable Care Act in a prior blog article). In the long run, healthy living is much more cost-effective than getting sick.
Let’s face reality: did anyone ever think that when the government takes something over, they’ll do it in a more cost-effective, efficient manner compared to a private institution or consumer choice and the market? Mandating that everyone should purchase health insurance and developing strict requirements for insurance plans won’t make people healthier, and it will also not end up costing the consumer less. After all, if you are young and healthy with absolutely no medical problems, how would you benefit in being forced to buy health insurance you’re never going to use? If you only drive your Prius below 30 mph and only drive in the right lane on the highway, why would you need to take the reckless driving option on your car insurance? Would an obese person need to buy coverage in the event they won’t be able to work in the swimsuit industry?
Oh, and by the way, do you remember the president telling us, “If you like your current doctor or plan, you can stay with them both?” That was the clincher intended to make all of us feel warm and cuddly on the inside. Well, as it turns out, that was all a lie, and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) actually projected in 2010 that Obamacare would force about half of individual consumers out of their current health plans. In the same analysis, the HHS also projected that by this year, anywhere from 34% to 80% of people on the payroll of a small or large employer would lose their grandfathered status, also forcing them off their current health plans.
The reason for the loss of grandfathered status essentially boils down to the strict requirements that Obamacare imposes in current health insurance policies—for instance, the inability to significantly raise deductibles and employer contributions.
In the end, as it is always the case, it will be extremely more economical to remain healthy than to become sick. Planning for your own personal well-being will result in mental capital much better spent than worrying which flawed insurance plan you’ll buy on an exchange. In medicine, there’s something called primary prevention, or preventing the patient from getting sick in the first place—this is where all the smart bets go.
I’m a doctor, and I hate going to see other doctors. We are well-versed in disease management but not in health management. Most MDs can sometimes chart a course to getting you to not sick from sick but are clueless when it comes to things that will actually keep you healthy perpetually.
Consequently, here are some suggestions on how to maintain your health:
- I’ve talked about it before, but I must reiterate: never, ever smoke cigarettes or be anywhere near a person that does. Cigarettes are addictive, dangerous, cancer-causing legal toxins that serve no purpose other than to kill, cause disease, and destroy lives.
- Don’t eat non-organic dairy, and when you do eat it, do so sparingly. Conventional cows are loaded with hormones (female) in order to increase the quantity of milk, and these hormones (rBST) are transmitted into what you drink. If you were wondering why girls in the third grade have entered prepuberty, then you have your answer. It’s also important to know that such hormones can lead to obesity and infertility in both boys and girls.
- Avoid high-fructose corn syrup like the plague. Excess dietary sugar is detrimental to your health. Instead of following the food pyramid (lots of grain and carbs), eat tons of veggies and non-sugary fruits. Stack up your plates with a myriad of different colors of the said foods, as these are loaded with phytonutrients, nature’s own antioxidants. If economically feasible, opt for the organic versions of these foods to minimize your ingestions of residual pesticides and toxins.
- Avoid food that’s been made for you already. In order to make food last for a long time, the manufacturing process adds many chemicals and additives that make the food less like food and more like an industrial product. Generally speaking, real food perishes and goes bad because it’s alive; fake food lasts forever and doesn’t change.
- Choose hormone-free meat. Our bodies are composed of more bacterial cells than human cells, and these bacteria live predominantly in our guts. They play a role in our own neurochemical balance, immunological responses, and overall well-being. Continual low-grade exposure to antibiotics in meats slowly and steadily kills good bacteria and alters the microbial composition in our intestines. Over time, this results in an unhealthier individual and also makes us (and the bacteria inside us) more resistant to said antibiotics. Also, get some more good bacteria into your system by occasionally eating fermented (i.e., sauerkraut) and cultured foods (i.e., kefir).
- Fluoride is a proven neurotoxin (it hurts your brain). It also causes infertility and has been linked to cancer. Fluoride is routinely added to drinking water (as well as toothpaste). Avoid fluorinated drinking water and toothpaste (your teeth will be fine).
- Exercise! Even if you walk outside in the fresh air and sunlight for only 10 minutes each day, that’s better than if you hadn’t done it at all. Spend some of your premiums on joining a gym, or just lace up your shoes and start walking.
- Guard your skin. Our skin is the largest organ in our body by surface area, and things absorbed by the skin are directly taken into our blood (there’s no filtration by our liver). Hence, if you put something toxic on your skin, the body really has no way to fight it. A by-product of many skin agents is 1,4-dioxane, a proven carcinogen. If you think (or not) about all the things we use each day—shampoo, soap, shaving cream, deodorant, and beauty products—the potential for significant exposure increases exponentially. Specifically, the things to avoid are the parabens (hormone disruption), phthalates (common in fragrances and disrupts endocrine function), triclosan (an antibiotic), and many of the UV-blocking agents in sunscreens (thyroid dysfunction).
- Keep the end in mind. Being and staying healthy is an endurance race, not a sprint. Small, everyday things add up over time, and becoming aware of how the cumulative effects of dangerous behaviors (i.e., lack of sleep, anger, pessimism) is as important as valuing the cumulative effects of beneficial behaviors (learned optimism, conscientiousness, future preference, and not sweating the small stuff). Balance is the key.
Dr. C. H. E. Sadaphal