Mike Huckabee: A Simple Government: Book Review. Chapter 5, Once Humpty Dumpty Falls, its Hard To Put Him Back Together. We Need A Responsible Approach To Heath Care. (The Simple Plan: Eat Healthy and Exercise And All Will Be Well.)
Huckabee mentions his own struggle to maintain his health. Once diagnosed with incipient type II diabetes he was able to shed 110 pounds and ward off the dread disease. He is now in the process of losing the thirty pounds he put back on. He notes that 75% of our health care costs are related to four chronic conditions, heart disease, cancer, diabetes and obesity. They are also the most preventable because they are linked to four behavior traits, tobacco use, alcohol use, lack of exercise and poor diet. The four chronic diseases are interrelated. Being overweight increases your risk of diabetes, which in turn increases your risk of heart disease (as well as kidney disease, stroke, blindness and leg and foot amputations.) By Limiting the intake of saturated and trans fats a diabetic can reduce the risk of heart disease. Presently Approximately one third of Americans born after 2000 will become diabetics mainly because more Americans are overweight.
Your risk of death due to cancer is increased by being overweight by about 20 percent.
One third of Americans are considered obese. This is as an increase since 1960 by a factor of three. Obesity related health care costs were 74 billion in 1998 now they are 147 billion. Obesity is also linked to Alzheimer’s disease because it is related to a large stomach which is related to high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Since 1980 the number of obese children has tripled to about 17 per cent.
Thus failure to lead an active life with a low fat diet is causing our health care costs to increase exponentially.
Huckabee believes that Patient Protection and Affordable Health Care Act (Healthcare Act) is the wrong way to go because the emphasis should be on the prevention of health care problems by encouraging a healthy life style and diet.
Huckabee is right children in his assertion that should be encouraged to engage in sports and other physical activities, spend less time watching television and in front of computers. Their diet should be carefully monitored to weed out unhealthy foods. Adults should be called upon to do the same for themselves. Many businesses have programs to encourage their employees to lose weight.
Huckabee believes if we could solve childhood and adult obesity it would go a long way to lowering our health care costs. (This may be true but it is not grounds repeal the Health Care Act. Thirty two million people including many children were uninsured before the act and many adults and children were excluded from coverage because of preexisting conditions creating an inability to purchase insurance. These people relied on emergency rooms which the states and the federal government paid for through Medicaid. Now these people will have to buy insurance if they can afford it and if not they will receive a subsidy to buy insurance. They can’t be turned down for preexisting conditions. Thus those that can pay will pay. Those that can’t will receive a subsidy for which we as taxpayers were paying for anyway.
He recognizes that we have a health care problem and his idea of promoting healthy living is a worthy goal. However it will not solve the problem of providing adequate coverage for all people. He points out that when employers or the federal government are paying the bills this leads to patient indifference and allows the medical community to exploit the system for their own profit. This is a valid criticism that needs to be addressed but the solution is not to eliminate the Health Care Act which replaced an outdated, inefficient and expensive private health care system mainly funded by employers and exploited by the medical profession as well as insurers. (Once again Huckabee attacks a major problem in just twelve pages. His points about living healthy are well taken but that alone will not curtail increasing health care costs. Also to stick with the old system will not solve the problems for which it is partly responsible. Medicare fraud is wide spread and the problem of inflated billing is endemic. Guidelines should be passed and enforcement of these guidelines by Justice Department attorneys should be a priority.
Medical providers should be paid by the procedure and not by for every swab or stitch they apply.
Huckabee relates the issue of health care reform to healthy living, a good idea but an untested idea since it is unknown if enough people will participate to make it viable. Fast food, the stress of modern living, advertising, television, computers and new electronic devices seem to promote a sedentary life style. Also Huckabee likes to use the term “socialized medicine” loosely although the Health Care Act is a long way from government ownership of medical facilities and direct employment of medical personnel.