Health reform is back in the news with the Australian Federal Government as usual arguing with state governments. The USA is having ongoing arguments about its reforms. Countries in Europe are also grappling with their health systems. The issues are the same in all developed countries – how can the “system” afford to pay for all the services that the population may want and need.
Nothing really changes other than the names and which party is in government.
But are the arguments missing the key point?
As I wrote in the book Dr Joes DIY Health-Putting you in charge of your health:
“The health system is in fact a disease system. Why? Because the only real way for you to enter the system is to have a disease. If you are healthy and you front up at your local doctor or hospital, there is a fair chance that you’ll be told to go away because there is nothing particularly wrong with you.”
Despite the overall health of people having never been better, in an interesting paradox there is now a growing “crisis” and rising “burden” of disease, which is crippling the various “health care” systems.
This burden of disease is a result of the lifestyles that people choose. Diseases such as diabetes, arterial sclerosis, hypertension, gastric reflux and irritable bowel syndrome, to name just a few, are called “lifestyle illness diseases” because they are brought about through elements of lifestyle. Western medicine tends to treat these conditions with medications rather than changes in lifestyle.”
Treatment with hospital beds and medication is expensive. Yet in all the proposals and discussions about ”reform” a fundamental assumption is always made – namely that people will continue to develop chronic illnesses in increasing numbers and will out increasing demands on the system to “fix them”. Essentially the arguments are about who pays how much, between the individual, private insurers and government. Hospitals, doctors and pharmaceutical companies are on the receiving end of these transactions.
No consideration seems to be given to the notion of individual responsibility. Most of the disease “burden” is preventable. The London based World Cancer Research Fund showed that one third of cancers could be prevented through regular exercise and changed eating patterns. The diabetes toll could be massively reduced through dietary changes.
None of this costs the system a cent and there is minimal if any cost to the individual. This will depend on the choices you make and how much you want to invest in your health. As I also say in the book –
“The quality of your health will always be a reflection of the quality of your choices.
Some choices are better than others. Each day we make choices with regard to our health and in turn our health will always be a reflection of those choices.”
The bottom line is; your health is your responsibility. It is not the responsibility of government, of the health system, the doctors, the natural health therapists or anyone else. It is solely your responsibility.
Maintaining your health has wrongly become thought of as very difficult and in this book I’ll tell you why that is and what you can do about it.
The message is clear: Your health is not reliant on anyone else except you. You have the power to be healthy.
The 8 pillars of DIY Health are a basis for being and staying healthy Whilst this will reduce demands on the “disease system”- more importantly you will feel better and have more energy today as well as a significantly reduced chance of major illness later. Live and enjoy life for the duration of your stay on earth.”
Real healthcare reform will be about helping and supporting people in being healthy. It is not arguing about who pays for disease.
Medical Doctor, author, speaker, media presenter and health industry consultant, Dr Joe Kosterich wants you to be healthy and get the most out of life.
Joe writes for numerous medical and mainstream publications, is clinical editor at Medical Forum Magazine, and is also a regular on radio and television.
Joe is Medical Advisor to Medicinal Cannabis Company Little Green Pharma, Chairman of Australian Tobacco Harm Reduction Association and sits on the board of Arthritis and Osteoporosis WA. He is often called to give opinions in medico legal cases.
He has self-published two books: Dr Joe’s DIY Health and 60 Minutes To Better Health.
Through all this he continues to see patients as a GP each week.