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Fixin' Healthcare

Friday, February 11, 2011

If You Build It, Will They Come?

Changing behavior is so much more difficult than relying upon the expectation that medical care will save the day and health insurance will pay the bill. But medical care has few cures and provides inadequate relief for the rising tide of chronic diseases that are secondary to unhealthy lifestyles. The difficult process of modifying lifestyle is inhibited by the orientation and excessive reliance upon medical care. Balance in a health system is a challenge but it is necessary to achieve optimum health status and avoid escalating costs. The essential ingredient is an informed and inspired public who are engaged in healthy lifestyles.

Medical care has too much invested to lead change or change. The politicians don't have a clue as they keep trying to reform health insurance. The insurance companies are wise to the situation as they collect premiums and slowly, reluctantly pay claims. Everyone is acting in their own best interest except the patients and the public and they are paying an awful price.

"If we've learned one thing about behavior change over the past 50 years, it's that knowledge is not enough to bring about change," said Laura Carstensen, director of the Center on Longevity at Stanford University. "Humans are exquisitely sensitive to environments. If there are mostly fast food restaurants in their neighborhoods, they eat fast food. If there are safe and appealing paths, they take walks. We must begin to think seriously about building environments that encourage all sorts of healthy behavior." (Karen Stabiner, New Lives for 'Dead' Suburban Malls, New York Times, January 21, 2011)

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