Fifty per cent of illnesses are avoidable. I know because I have all of them and the others and I know which ones could have been skipped.
Of the fifty per cent of illnesses that are avoidable, all of them, all of them, all of them, are directly related to personal habits. All of them. Smoking, overuse of alchohol, obesity, sedentary life styles, are all personal habits that are hard to change (which is why they are habits) but the elimination of any of them has startling beneficial results.
Of the four major avoidable illness strains, the easiest to combat should be diabetes. By the year 2020, some 25% of Americans will be said to be at risk of diabetes. To cure diabetes, one must treat an entire family, a social grouping and a culture. You could actually eliminate up to 33% of health care costs in the USA by curing diabetes with diet and exercise.
Here is the big problem with diet and exercise. Diet and exercise require a person to engage in a consistent use of personal responsibility.
Consider this statistic. If you are healthy your personal wealth (productivity, gain and conservation) will be up to 25% higher than that of an unhealthy person of whatever caste. You can take control of your health in various ways, prevention being the most important, and you can make yourself 25% wealthier than you would be otherwise. So, why don't more people want to live longer and get richer?
Personal responsibility, again. To cure the Expensive, Avoidable Illnesses, we have to preach personal responsibility. People have to believe they Can and know they Should.
Who can do this? Who can make people believe they can get better and know they should act better?
Choose between Government, Industry and the Church.
Government can mandate health regulations and require you to buy insurance. What we will discover about all the regulation is that insurance does not mean access, or even health.
Industry, business, commerce can offer incentives to stay healthy. Lose weight, walk, put up soap dispensers. We should applaud all these actions but none of them matter much in a Long Recession or to people without jobs.
We are left with the Church. A church, or the Church, that wants to be relevant could find itself made meaningful if it used its volunteer base to connect with people outside the church with compassion.
A public health distributor recently said, "In my country, the two places our surveys indicate people go for recreation or connection are overwhelmingly these: the bar or the church. Now, I am non-religious. I just don't get into that. But I know, if a diabetic gets his diabetic diagnosis and goes back to the bar, he is going to die. Worse, he is going to die slowly and at great expense to my system. If he goes to the church, he has a fighting chance for health. As a person who has to treat more people with less resources, I wish the (expletive deleted) would just go to church."
I could not have said it better.
Imagine removing 50% of the illness from the American health care system. Imagine the financial savings, the added productivity to American commerce. Imagine a healthier, wealthier America.
The Church can save America.
Opinions expressed here are mine alone.