Dear Friend, I’m Sorry…

[For the record, before you even read this, know I’m upset for my friend and I acknowledge upfront I am oversimplifying an extremely complicated topic.  But damnit – this sucks! For so many good people who have done nothing wrong other than be the receipient of a bad genetic roll of the dice, I’m sorry your lives are at risk due to the interpretations of who should be covered by health insurance and who shouldn’t be.  This is my commentary on the matter so take it for what it is worth without trying to nitpick every word to death.]

The House voted to repeal and replace ObamaCare and I feel horrible. Not for me, but for so many who will be left in a lurch without health care.  I am extremely concerned about those with pre-existing conditions if this awful piece of legislation goes through as it is currently being reported. This includes a dear friend of mine who is absolutely heartbroken by the news who was born with a condition which there is no cure and is in a daily fight to maintain her health.  I feel guilty and know I’m part of the problem. I didn’t write the legislation and I certainly didn’t vote for everyone in the current sitting Congress, but I have a role in this and likely, so do you. Let me explain.

I do not have a pre-existing condition. I am what in the healthcare industry consider to be an “under-utilizer.” I am terrified of doctors and will do anything I can to avoid the doctor. This equates to limited preventative care and monitoring and it also means that I don’t exactly follow doctors orders when I do get them – especially if it means follow up care. In time, my avoidance and lack of preventive care can get very expensive as things that could have been treated early and will be getting treated at a very late stage if/when more extreme methods (read that as costly) may be needed. In addition to being an under-utilizer, I also make some pretty bad lifestyle choices when it comes to diet, exercise, alcohol consumption, amount of sleep and stress management. Unless you are living under a rock, you know as well as I do all of these things contribute to some of the major chronic diseases that are very expensive to manage such as diabetes and heart disease. With everything I just rattled off and if we really think about the expenses behind the end resulting conditions and necessary treatments, it is the collective of people (myself included) making poor personal life style choices that are accounting for a significant amount of healthcare’s ever growing expenses.

I’m going to pile on a bit more…we also have created a society expecting a medication to solve all of our problems.  When we do finally go to the doctor, instead of doing the hard work to get our sh!t together and be responsible for our health, we are asking for (and in many cases being handed) drugs to help with many conditions that could also be improved through modifying our diet and exercise.  I am all for putting drugs to use to kickstart someone on the path to improving their circumstances, but making drugs a permanent fixture in one’s daily routine instead of doing things that cost nothing, we need to ask if we are doing the right thing for ourselves.  And what about the people who go to the ED or the doctor’s office to ask for drugs for routine things such as a common cold when what they need to do is go home and get the required rest to get better?  Don’t even get me started on that one…

So healthcare being expensive — yes, pre-existing conditions are expensive — but what would the healthcare landscape look like if we all acknowledged we have one body on this earth and we all did what we know we are supposed to do to take care of it? What if we penalized the people who made poor lifestyle choices instead of leaving behind the people who can’t do anything about the conditions they were born with?  So to my dear friend, I’m sorry. Healthcare being expensive and the Republicans trying to reform it so it becomes “cheaper” and taking away coverage from so many people who need it, I’m sorry.  Its on me.  It is on so many like me. I wish I could give you my insurance so you could have the care you will need tomorrow and each and every day after that without worrying what you will be able to afford in the future.  This situation is on those of us too stubborn to acknowledge our choices and who don’t get off our butts to do something about it are what is continuing to increase the cost of healthcare. We are overweight, overmedicated, and not taking responsibility for ourselves while so many have no choice in dealing with conditions that are completely out of their control.  If you want to fix healthcare, make it about taking care of the people who truly need life-saving care and can’t do it without a doctor’s help instead of penalizing them.  The rest of us…we need to take care of ourselves and stop expecting our doctors to do it for us.

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