All the talk about “Health Care Reform” has certainly ignited a fire in countless Americans! Every national news and talk radio show is focused on this hot button topic recently.The economic crisis is clearly the catalyst for the proposed sweeping changes in national “health” care. Scarce funds and resources, as well as a pending economic “collapse” (as some describe) are forcing us to consider how to manage health care in tough times… and in extreme circumstances.We’re hearing terms like “rationed health care”, “socialized medicine”, “universal insurance” and the “value of human life”. It’s no wonder this subject has sparked such heated dialogue.Spending the first 23 years of my life in “socialist” Canada, and still spending much time and energy in their medical system with both of my parents, I may have a different perspective from the sensationalized one being portrayed in media.I’m perfectly willing to admit that I don’t understand all the politics and red tape involved. I simply have a memory of how things really played out in that system and countless experiences to call upon.Growing up, I quite clearly recall paying out of pocket for many doctor’s and specialist’s visits, treatments and procedures, and paying a partial “co-pay” for the remaining forms of care: physical therapy, surgery, prescriptions, etc. Not exactly the picture I continue to see painted on the news.Studying and working within the field of health and wellness for the past 18 years, I know I have a different perspective. First, I wish we’d quit calling this “health care”. The subject of this conversation is “sickness care”. I know I can’t change that, but it annoys me! Words are important.I have no challenge with paying for – investing in – my own health. I will gladly invest in lifestyle choices that proactively build better health. Choices like: healthier foods, high quality nutritional supplements, pure water, exercise classes, equipment and tools, Chiropractic care, massage, less toxic personal care, household and lawn care products, and so on. I don’t expect a hand out for any of these things… although it would sure be nice! It’s just not realistic. My health and my family’s health is my responsibility.If we continue to talk about sickness care as though it will somehow provide us with health, we’ll continue on our devastating trend of unparalleled rates of chronic illness in all age groups. We’re confused.What drug, surgery, insurance plan or federal program could ever fix a problem due to a lack of fresh, healthy, whole, untainted (genetically required) real foods? Or a problem due to sedentary living and lack of regular (genetically required) movement? Or a problem due to a lack of healthy emotions like love and joy? Or a problem due to toxic thoughts and emotions like fear, worry, hate and hopelessness?Thinking that national “health care” is responsible for our health is irresponsible on our part. It’s also foolish. Their paradigm is still the sickness paradigm. Why on earth would we expect them to deliver us health?Do I think that we should have a system to help those in need achieve better health and receive sickness care when needed? Yes. But I sure would love to see the main focus of such a program be on “health”! I’m certain we’d spend FAR less on sickness care (and “health care” as a whole) if that were the case.I’d also love to see the pharmaceutical industry focus on health rather than profits, and drugs only be used for life-saving endeavors… but I digress!I’m blessed to live in a country with excellent sickness care options. In the case of emergency or trauma or life-saving procedures we have the best. In the case of “health care”… not so much! Sadly though, it’s all there. Everything we need in order to create ideal health is right here at our fingertips. As a culture, we just keep overlooking it and choosing sickness care, expecting health as the outcome.Our paradigm is inaccurate.As individuals, imagine if we all began to proactively take steps to create better health. We would no longer play the role of passive by-stander or helpless victim in this game. That’s where I think our focus needs to shift – why wait around to see what’s decided FOR us? Regardless of whatever decisions are made by this current administration, we can certainly become healthier one by one, family by family. Isn’t this the perfect, most necessary time to take responsibility for our own health and safety?Science has clearly shown us that it’s our lifestyle choices – how we eat, how we move, how we sleep, how we respond to stress – that directly determine our level of health, function, performance and our ability to prevent and reverse chronic illness. Getting healthier means making more pure and sufficient choices while simultaneously reducing toxic and deficient choices. No one can do this for us but US.When we shift to this responsible, proactive and accurate belief about health care, THEN we will have a truly beneficial health care reform and a profound strengthening of our economy!
5 Ways To Reduce Your Health Care Costs
Adjust Your DeductibleThe two main component of a health insurance plan are the premium and costs you pay for health care via your co-pay, co-insurance and deductible. The more you agree to pay for your health care, the less your monthly premium will be. Insurance companies know that when people have a financial stake in their own health care bills they tend to be more judicious in their use of medical services. Agreeing to pay a higher deductible, or rate of co-insurance, will result in lower monthly premiums. Sometimes these reductions can be quite significant and if saved will cover most if not all of the cost of the higher deductible.This approach is less effective for people who use a lot of health care services every year, racking up large bills. However, for people who are generally health and don’t use a lot of health care, they can realize dramatic savings using a high deductible health plan. Plans with high premiums are guaranteed to cost you a lot of money even if you don’t go to the doctor. Plans with high deductibles will only cost you a lot if you actually use medical services.Use Tax AdvantagesThere are a few ways to reduce your health insurance costs using the income tax system. The first and most common way is to use a health savings account otherwise known as an HSA. An HSA is a special banking account you are allowed to put pretax money in to spend on health care costs. The money you put into your health savings account does not get taxed as regular income. Depending on the tax bracket you are in, this can be a significant discount on health care costs. Many health care plans do not cover things like maternity, dental services and eye care. However, these services can be paid for out of an HSA.To be eligible for an HSA, you must have a high deductible health insurance plan that meets the IRS requirements for health savings accounts. Generally you have to carry a high deductible and the plan has to have limits on total out of pocket cots.If you are facing large health care bills, you may be able to deduct them from your income tax. You are allowed to deduct any medical expenses above 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. There are a wide variety of services that can be included in this amount, even a mileage deduction for transportation to and from the hospital. Make sure to consult a tax advisor if you choose to go this route.Use your free Preventive CareAll health insurance plans are now required to provide free preventive care, so make sure you use it. Routine checkups and some testing is free for adults. Well baby visits and immunizations are free for children. These are significant benefits so make sure you are taking full advantage of them.Shop AroundOne of the reasons health care has become so expensive is there is little price competition. Don’t be afraid to ask what a doctor charges, especially for planned or expected health care. Some hospitals can be very competitive on price for services like labor and delivery, while others can be quite expensive. Don’t assume health care costs the same everywhere, it certainly does not.Emergency rooms are especially to be avoided if you are looking to reduce your health care costs. They should only be used for true emergencies. For non life threatening medical issues like ear infections or even a cut requiring stitches, consider using an urgent care or local clinic. The costs of services at these locations can be a tenth of what an emergency room will charge.Stay HealthyThis may sound like tired advice, but staying out of the hospital is the best way to reduce your costs. Try putting everyday activities in terms of what they may cost you in the long run. Sitting on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream is much more expensive than a nice walk outside. If living a long life isn’t enough motivation to be healthy now, consider that your unhealthy lifestyle will cost you a lot of money in health care costs.
How Effective Is Weight Loss Surgery?
For severely overweight individuals that have failed to see results from diet and exercise alone, weight-loss surgery has become the safest and most effective means of achieving significant weight loss. In fact, studies have shown that with diet and exercise alone, nearly 95% of obese patients will gain all the lost weight back within 5 years. On the other hand, long-term success rates for weight-loss surgery – including the LAP-BAND procedure – are remarkably high, allowing patients to maintain a loss of between 50-70% of their excess body weight. Though there are many factors that can impact an individual patient’s weight-loss success, weight-loss surgery is simply the most effective long-term weight loss and healthy lifestyle solution for severely obese patients.Studies show that most patients that undergo weight-loss surgery will lose between 50-70% of their excess body weight within the first three years following their procedure. Those that undergo gastric bypass surgery will lose excess body weight more rapidly in the first 12 months than those that choose LAP-BAND surgery. However, gastric bypass patients typically experience a greater number of complications and side effects than LAP-BAND patients, as the LAP-BAND procedure allows for more gradual and natural long-term weight loss.From a clinical perspective, a weight-loss surgery is considered successful when the patient loses at least 50% of their excess body weight and keeps the weight off for at least five years. While important lifestyle changes need to be made to ensure that the weight loss is maintained in the long term, studies have shown that most weight loss surgery patients are able to maintain a 50-60% loss of excess body weight 10 years after the surgical procedure. However, it is important to note that a weight loss of just 10% of total body weight can begin to have positive health effects in resolution of obesity-related condition like asthma, gastric reflux (GERD), and diabetes. As weight-loss surgery is usually performed on patients that are at least 75-100 pounds overweight or have a Body Mass Index (BMI) of at least 35 with a health condition, overall weight loss can range anywhere from 40 pounds to over 100 pounds. But the patient is really the leader behind achieving these results.While patients will certainly look and feel better after weight-loss surgery, there are also numerous health benefits associated with successful weight loss. In most cases, health conditions that develop as a result of excessive body weight or are worsened by obesity can be improved upon or, in some cases, remedied by weight-loss surgery.But there are other ways to measuring success with weight-loss surgery, like the LAP-BAND System. For instance, many weight loss surgery patients take great pride in being able to perform certain activities that may not have been possible for a number of years, like crossing their legs, bending over to tie a show, walking up stairs without being easily winded or sitting comfortably in an airplane seat.While most patients that undergo weight-loss surgery experience incredibly positive results, there are many factors that can impact the overall success of an individual patient’s procedure and follow-up treatment. Here are some important factors to consider as you try to determine whether weight loss surgery is right for you.Pre-surgery WeightGenerally speaking, the higher a patient’s pre-surgery weight or BMI, the more excess weight the patient can lose after surgery. However, recipients of weight-loss surgery with less excess body weight will eventually come closer to their ideal weight when committed to long-term diet and exercise. Also, resolution or improvement in obesity-related diseases can occur with even moderate amounts of weight. Often many diseases can become closer to cured than improved with earlier intervention at a lower weight.Overall HealthWhile pre-existing health conditions can impact the overall success of weight-loss surgery (for instance, patients with type 2 Diabetes typically lose less excess body weight after surgery), studies have shown that many ailments linked to obesity are either improved upon or fall into remission after a successful procedure. For instance, a 2000 study performed on 500 weight loss surgery patients showed that nearly 96% of health conditions associated with obesity – such as high blood pressure, depression, sleep apnea, back pain and diabetes – improved greatly following loss of excess weight and long-term commitment to diet and exercise.Surgical ProcedureAs there are potential risks and complications associated with any surgical procedure, potential patients should always seek to have their weight-loss surgery performed by a trusted medical staff. Prospective patients should inquire about their surgeon’s success rates with weight-loss surgery and listen to the experiences of former patients. Additionally, a patient’s weight-loss success may also be impacted by the quality of post-surgery care and counseling provided by their bariatric outpatient facility.Diet and ExerciseAs diet and exercise are two of the most important factors in any weight loss plan, patients with the physical ability to exercise after weight-loss surgery have increased chances of meeting their goals. To maintain the weight loss achieved by surgery, both exercise and healthy eating habits must become integral parts of a patient’s lifestyle.CommitmentThe ability to remain committed to suggested dietary guidelines, exercise regimens and any follow-up care recommended by the bariatric outpatient facility is important for both short-term weight loss and long-term weight management.MotivationPatients that are motivated to lose weight and willing to follow through with diet and exercise prior to receiving weight loss surgery may experience greater levels of success immediately following the procedure and in the long term. Most people did not find themselves severely obese overnight. It took years to reach that weight and therefore patients should be patient with the weight-loss process, which will also not occur overnight. Successful patients find small victories along the way to celebrate and stay motivated.SupportAs weight-loss surgery will require some time away from everyday activities, it is important to have the support of family, friends and coworkers before undergoing any surgical procedure. Furthermore, as the ongoing weight-loss process following bariatric surgery may require a certain level of emotional support, prospective patients may want to establish a support network – including friends and family members that can join in on exercise and healthy eating.Considering that significant weight loss can not only remedy many health concerns, but also improve an individual’s quality of life, the potential benefits of weight-loss surgery are plentiful. For severely overweight individuals that are unable to lose weight via diet and exercise alone, weight-loss surgery is the most effective method of losing weight – and keeping the weight off.
What Might Be Next In The Economy?
Since, we don’t have a crystal ball, it is impossible to predict, accurately, the future! This is especially true, when, it comes to economic issues, including investment, real estate, interest rates, inflationary pressures, government actions, international factors, etc. What are the ramifications of inflation, recession, interest rates, Federal Reserve Bank decisions, etc? How can one, hedge – his – bet, in order to minimize unnecessary risks, while receiving a quality return, also? There is no simple answer, because so many factors, have significant influences. With, that in mind, this article will attempt to briefly, consider, examine and review potential factors, in order to help readers, have a more – complete understanding of the possibilities.
1) Interest rates: We have experienced a prolonged period of historically – low – interest rates. This has created easy money, because the cost of borrowing is so low. Both individuals and corporations have benefited, at least, in the immediate- term, permitting home buyers to purchase more house, because their monthly charges, are low, due to low mortgage rates. Corporate and government bonds, and banks, have paid low returns. It has stemmed, inflation, and created a rise in home prices, we haven’t witnessed, in recent memory. The Federal Reserve Bank has signaled they will be ending this propping – up, and will also raise rates, probably three times, in 2022. What do you think that will cause.
2) Auto loans, consumer loans, borrowing: The auto industry has been, significantly, impacted by supply chain challenges. When rates rise, auto loans and leases, will be more costly.
3) THis pattern began after the Tax Reform legislation, passed at the end of 2017, which created the initial, new, trillion dollars deficits
4) Government spending, caused by the financial suffering and challenges, because of shut downs, etc, because of the pandemic, created trillions more in debt. Unfortunately, debt must be eventually addressed.
5) Perception and attitude: The past couple of years,apparently, created a public perception, plus many fears, with a crippling economic impact.
Either, we begin to plan, effectively, and with common sense and an open – mind, many will be at – risk. Wake up, America, and demand better leadership, service and representation.