Affordable Health Care is More Than Insurance
By Dale Peterson, MD – Building Health –
Nearly four years after it was signed into law and eighteen months since it was declared constitutional by the Supreme Court the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act continues to dominate the news. While some people are anxious to take advantage of the insurance provided by the law others are unhappy to find the law’s mandates have led to higher premiums and deductibles. No matter how you feel about the law, it’s more important than ever to recognize that insurance does not determine your state of health.
It’s unfortunate that the debate over the insurance bill was repeatedly referred to as a debate over health care. It’s equally regrettable that the product is referred to as health insurance. Linking medical insurance to health is extremely misleading and has the calamitous effect of causing many people to believe that activities or items not covered by their insurance are of no value in maintaining their health. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I am insured in many ways. I carry a life insurance policy. In reality, it’s death insurance. It doesn’t ensure that I will live; it will pay only if I die.
I have an auto insurance policy, but it’s actually no auto insurance. It pays nothing to maintain the vehicle. I’ve never had an auto insurer reimburse me for buying a new set of tires, for changing the oil, for washing the car, replacing a weak battery, or any other expense that is needed to keep my automobile in proper working order.
I have home insurance, but it’s really loss of home insurance. It doesn’t reimburse me for cleaning the carpets, painting the shutters, replacing a light bulb, or keeping the plumbing in working order. It only activates if my home is damaged in some way, whether by storm, fire, or other catastrophic event.
I believe that most people understand that life, auto, or home insurance are not intended to protect one’s life, car, or home from loss, but rather to relieve the financial stress of unexpected loss of those things. Unfortunately, almost no one views health insurance in the same way. When it comes to health there is an almost complete disconnect between what actually promotes health and insurance that eases the financial impact of loss of one’s health.
I’ve had people tell me that they can’t afford to eat in a manner that promotes health. Although I believe that to be a myth, the attitude is that if fruits and vegetables aren’t covered by health insurance, they’re not that important.
Similarly, I’ve often been told by individuals that they can’t afford to take quality nutritional supplements. After all, if they were worthwhile their health insurance would pay for them. Devices that protect the body from electromagnetic radiation are rejected because they’re not covered by health insurance. I could go on, but hopefully I’ve made my point.
Perhaps the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have an unintended, but extremely beneficial effect. Faced with a high deductible before insurance will begin to reimburse expenses incurred for treatment of a disease, families may begin to invest in far less costly measures that can improve and maintain their health. Not only will they be saving money in the long run, they will be feeling better and enjoying life more fully along the way.
Health maintenance is not complicated. It begins by making pure water one’s primary beverage. It includes eating whole foods, including fresh fruits and vegetables rather than packaged foods. It involves being physical active, getting the body moving for 30 minutes several times a week.
To maintain optimum health the body requires nutritional support that includes vitamins, minerals, essential amino acids, and essential fatty acids. It needs protection from the ever-increasing number of radiofrequencies that are assaulting it every minute of every day.
Measures that promote health need not be costly. That’s important because those expenses will not be covered by health insurance. That is the nature of insurance; it doesn’t pay for measures intended to keep our homes, vehicles, and bodies in good working order. It only reimburses us for expenses incurred in attempting to repair them when they have been seriously damaged.
Dr. Dale Peterson is a graduate of the University of Minnesota College of Medicine. He completed his residency in FamilyMedicine at the University of Oklahoma. He is a past president of the Oklahoma Academy of Family Physicians. He had a full-time family practice in Edmond, Oklahoma, for over 20 years and was a Chief of Staff of the Edmond Hospital. He was active in teachingfor many years as a Clinical Professor of Family Medicine through the Oklahoma University Health Sciences Center.
Dr. Peterson left his full-time family practice in 1999 to consult with individuals who are seeking ways to restore and maintain their health through improved nutrition and other lifestyle changes. He founded the Wellness Clubs of America to give people access to credible information on supporting and maintaining their health. His monthly wellness letter, Health by Design, and his Health by Design E-Newsletter provide helpful information to individuals interested in preventing and conquering health challenges. His book Building Health by Design: Adding Life to Your Years and Years to Your Life was released in December 2010.
Dr. Peterson speaks regularly on subjects related to health and nutrition. He hosted a weekly radio program,Your Health Matters, on KTOK in Oklahoma City for five years. For the past nine years he has addressed questions from across the nation on his Your Health Matters weekly teleconference.He offers a free video LifeXtension course at www.drdalepeterson.com.