Saturday, November 07, 2015

The cost of healthcare is a much larger subject than you may think

It's time we think about the cost of healthcare in this country. 
I'm not talking about the cost of care when we get sick, I'm talking about all the money spent keeping ourselves well. Think about it. 
I just went through a preventative colonoscopy and received a clean bill of health, much better than when I went through the same procedure 12 years ago. At that time, the surgeon found many, many problems and advised me to have another procedure done in one to three years. 
Well, I got busy, then my insurance changed, then I was working so much I didn't take time for such a procedure. 
This year, my physician suggested I have it done. 
"I don't know how much your insurance will cover but you've used up all your deductible this year so have it done before the end of the year," he said. 
So, I joked and laughed the day before and shared my humor with the nurses and anesthesiologist at the hospital before I went into The Room. 
Everything is fine but it made me think about all the things I've done to improve my health since 2003 and the expense/investment involved. 
We do much more for preventative healthcare than many nations in the world. 
Since 2003, Linda and I bought a treadmill and we walk pretty faithfully three or more times a week for at least 20 minutes each session. 
I lost 60 pounds after I became aware of a problem with my back and diabetes. I got my diabetes under control and my back problem as gone away, even though I regained about half that weight I lost. 
I got an app for my phone (My Fitness Pal) that helps me log my food intake and exercise every day. 
Speaking of exercise, that treadmill cost several hundred dollars but that amount is minute compared to the YMCA I joined and then left several years ago. (I know I need to go back.) That YMCA has been an multimillion dollar investment over the years when you consider not only construction costs, but all that has been spent on maintenance and employee salaries and the many hours each year volunteers give to helping kids live healthier lives. 
What about the investment my physician has made in his profession? Many years of education beyond college, continuing education, and way too much money that every physician spends on malpractice insurance. I don't go to see my doctor just for medicine and advice when I'm ill. He gives me advice on how to stay healthy, too. 
We can talk about the money invested in local hospitals. I thank God regularly for the fine Catholic hospitals in Brazil and in Crawfordsville. Our family has used both of them and I have written news stories and done interviews with healthcare professionals who work there.
So, when we think of healthcare costs, let's not limit the subject to Obamacare or socialized medicine. Let's think about the big picture.