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Much has been written and rewritten about the health care crisis in the United States.  Those of us lucky enough to have a job that offers health insurance blindly go forth hoping our companies will continue our health coverage without increasing our rates too much. 

We want our coverage when we need it and we don’t want to pay any more than we must to get it.  If I get sick, I want the best medicine, the best doctors, and the best tests performed in the nicest facilities, costs be damned.

As of 2009, the latest date which information has been published, America spent $7,960 per capita on total health care expenditure.  This figure represents over 17.4% of our GDP.  The next closest developed nation, Norway, spends $5,353 per capita or 9.6% of its GDP. 

Spending doesn’t mean we are healthier though.  Average life expectancy in the US is around 77 years.  Compare that to Japan where the average person lives to 81 years while spending less than one-third per capita as compared to the US. 

We are at a tipping point.  We really cannot afford to spend more on health care and expect to have a thriving competitive economy. If there is one good thing about ObamaCare it is that the nation and the health care industry have been forced to be introspective and start to tame the health care giant.

Like many industries before it, the health care industry is in the midst of consolidation where efficiencies will emerge and costs will be reduced. Electronic Medical Records (EMR) and other technology and information sharing will greatly reduce redundancies.  Providers are figuring out how to do more with less.  The strong will get stronger and the weak will be eliminated.  Natural selection is alive and well in the industry.   

As consumers and end users, we have to do our part to reduce the health care burden.  Let’s start by agreeing to be healthier and take personal responsibility for our health.  Here are some suggestions:

  • ELF- eat less food
  • Skip the fast food and ingredients you cannot pronounce
  • Eat your veggies
  • Exercise
  • Turn off the TV
  • If it tastes good, spit it out
  • Drink water not pop

And finally, ask your doctor next time you go for a visit, what will this cost me today?

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