Health and Wellness

Here’s some humility for you: I don’t have a great plan for health care. I wish I did and I tried very hard to develop a solution, but there’s a fundamental problem at the heart of this issue: We have unlimited demand and a very limited supply, no matter how you slice this cake, so what I have been left with are piecemeal reforms that will help, but not offer a permanent fix.

The first thing one realizes in studying the issue is we approach health and wellness from a skewed perspective in America. We want to be able to do whatever we want, including abusing our bodies with poor health choices, expecting doctors to patch up whatever problems we create indefinitely. Our system does an amazing job of accomplishing this goal, all things considered, but the single biggest cost savings would be if we made better health choices. Because the reality is the cost for one person’s indiscretion is, by virtue of our decision to provide health care to most needy no matter what, distributed to everyone else.

The question is hardly abstract for me. I went from weighing 250 pounds to 190 pounds in about two years. The difference in how I feel and how clearly I can think is amazing, yet I also know that it is a hard road to self-improvement. I know how stress traps us and we like to eat our way out of it, and recognize the nature of our society is we punish our bodies to meet obligations thrown upon us both others and ourselves. We need to figure out ways to dial down stress for health, and preventive action is something more people should consider. The best problem is the one you never have to face.

But, we have sick people with real needs, and we need to control costs. We can limit malpractice liability. We can make sure America pays the lowest cost for prescription drugs and stop the free rider issue where other nations have cheaper health care because we subsidize the cost for medicine which they either copy or receive at discount. Perhaps international collaboration on these costs is one model to consider, as all people benefit from wellness.

I support repealing the last remnants of the ACA because it was not affordable, did not care, and was just an act. However, I think the basic right to life and liberty requires health as a condition, and so I open up the issue for a real transpartisan discussion about what we can do, including the possibility a better insurance model outside the government is best. Unlike other Republicans, I don’t think the American people will forgive our unwillingness to engage this issue, because for those impacted with certain diseases or conditions, it is astounding how quickly health troubles bankrupt families.

My wife suffers from Chronic Lyme Disease, a controversial condition where a person untreated for a tick bite or other carrier for Lyme Disease develops punishing neurological and physiological symptoms. The insurance companies don’t want to pay for it, the CDC won’t recognize it despite hundreds of thousands of Americans suffering from this, especially in New England and the Northeast, and they find it cheaper to pay a few doctors to muddy the waters so people suffering receive no care and are treated as outcasts. This is the state of health care in America today for so many families, with different conditions, where the system fails the patients and provides neither comfort nor care.

I don’t have an answer to how we fix it, but I care about the question and hope we can discover better answers so that no person has to suffer alone, and no family will be destroyed by conditions that need support. I lived this with my parents and with my wife, so I get it, and I know we need to fix health care.