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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alan's Soapbox - Health Care part II

Before I start, here are some updates.

It is finally raining. We need it. It seems that we got our long dry end of summer in June. It is nice to hear the rain and know that the pastures, fields, and gardens are receiving a much needed drink. (Maybe the lawn won't break dormancy and force me to get the mower back out, but even if it does it's worth it.)

Fudge sales have really started to take off. Chili chocolate seems to be the most popular both online and at the farmers market. We have had some good responses to our fudge flavor contest. If you haven't put in your ideas you should. We will be accepting them for about another week.

The potager is bursting with veggies and color. Zinnias of every color, more cucumbers than we can possibly use, herbs, tomatoes, and the late planting of beans have started blooming. It is fun to see how much can come out of such a small space.

Now, on to Health Care.

The comments to my previous post pointed out one of the big problems in health care. We do stupid things. Even when we know better. Part of this is the nature of people. There are things we like and we are going to do them even though we know that they are bad for us. The other part is a cultural relocation of responsibility. We believe that the medical system not only can fix us when we are broken but that they are obligated to do so. The health care industry and the government support this kind of thinking. A big part of the change that needs to happen is in people taking individual responsibility for their own health. That isn't something that can be legislated. But, it can be taught. I see it happening in the auto insurance industry. Companies have started to incentivize good driving. If you don't have an accident for a certain amount of time you get a break on your insurance rate. It's not a lot, but it is enough to change some peoples behavior. There is nothing like that in health care. Having people living healthier lives will cut health care costs. Reward them for making those choices. Pairing that with a restructured local health care service that was focused on keeping the people in a given community health (by working on individual issues, food, diet, water, etc) could change the face of health care in this country. It may also change the kinds of research that gets funded, and the kinds of care that people get.

I know I don't have all the details, or even a real workable answer. I also know I am not part of the "debate". We have insurance. We pay a lot for it and rarely use it. We have looked at getting rid of most of our coverage because we don't use it but then when we do end up needing something many places in our area wouldn't let us in the door. The one thing I'm sure of is that the system doesn't work as it is and throwing more money and regulations at it isn't very likely to fix it.

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