Health Insurance $$ up sharply. Wish “Hollywood” could fix it.

Too bad this is not Hollywood, where you can re-make a village overnight.

"Big Blue" formally debuts tonight.

First of all. Happy Birthday “Big Blue!” Our launch party is tonight.

As for health insurance; The New York Times just reported this week on the sharply rising cost of health insurance. (See link to article below):

The cost of health insurance for many Americans this year climbed more sharply than in previous years, outstripping any growth in workers’ wages and adding more uncertainty about the pace of rising medical costs.

A new study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonprofit research group that tracks employer-sponsored health insurance on a yearly basis, shows that the average annual premium for family coverage through an employer reached $15,073 in 2011, an increase of 9 percent over the previous year.

While this is horrible news for everyone, no one should really be surprised. Rising from just 5.2% of our GDP in 1960 to 17% this year, according to a 2009 Forbes article, we’re on track to hit 31% by 2035. But the real frustrating part of this whole mess is that some of us know what the answer is, but no one in authority is talking about it — even Bill Clinton.

He told the world on TV that he cured his heart disease by switching to a plant-based diet

While he has no formal authority these days in terms of government, he still remains one of the most powerful leaders on the planet. And although he has personal knowledge of just how easily heart disease can be eradicated, he is not talking much about the impact on our cost of health care if everyone in the USA were to adopt his diet-style. Imagine what he could accomplish if he made “nutritional knowledge” the #1 priority of his highly influential Clinton Global Initiative (CGI).

While dietary change among the masses would still be slow, at least people will be hearing the “big picture” truth about nutrition for the first time — beginning with Lesson #1 — Protein. Imagine thousands of billboards across the nation with a giant picture of Bill Clinton with this message,

Need Animal Protein? NO! None of us “needs” ANY animal protein in our diet; as a matter of fact, it’s killing us. Load up on fruits and vegetables and kiss chronic disease goodbye. My name is Bill Clinton and I approved this message.”

With about a million of these kinds of signs on buses, subways, in airports, airline magazines, highway billboards — our grassroots revolution could get some serious traction. Too bad we all have to suffer through a long, arduous change of diet-style (probably fifty years) when we already know the end game. Our current diet-style is grossly unsustainable for many reasons and will inevitably end at some point in the future — with a return to the natural diet for our species; whole, plant-based foods.

Hollywood? Too bad this dilemma is not like the movie business where you can change things overnight. Too bad we can’t wave a magic wand and have everyone eating a health-promoting plant-based diet — and also having the 25 million people (whose jobs in “disease care” were displaced by the “health revolution”), already working in their new careers. As for changing things overnight in the movie business, that is exactly what is happening right before our very eyes here in Stonington, CT.

On Monday, this was an antique store, now it's a movie theater.

With a 2012 movie being filmed here this week, our little village by the sea has been transformed like magic. What was an antique store two days ago is now a movie theater and a local realty office is now a quaint hardware store. All of this was done to make our Connecticut village look like a coastal town in Maine where Steve Carrell (a shrink) counsels a married couple from NYC — Meryl Streep and Tommy Lee Jones.

They say it’s part drama and part comedy; but with Steve Carrell starring in it, my money goes on the latter. Entitled Great Hope Springs, all of us locals are looking forward to its release in 2012. That’s when we get to find out how much help Steve Careell’s character delivered when it came to perking up the sex life of the NYC couple. Meanwhile back to reality and the cost of health insurance; the article concludes…

{E}mployers and others say much more still needs to be done to control overall costs, especially when workers’ wages are essentially flat. Of the $15,073 in average premiums paid for family coverage, Kaiser found that employees paid $4,129 towards the cost, in addition to whatever out-of-pocket costs they shouldered.

“We’re going to continue to have this yawning gap,” said Helen Darling, the chief executive of the National Business Group on Health, which represents employers that provide health coverage to their workers. Health care costs continue to climb much faster than overall inflation, she noted.“The health economy acts as if it’s a boom economy,” she said.

Real estate office on Monday, Hardware store on Wednesday

When I hear the term health insurance nowadays, only one thing comes to mind — the phrase uttered by an insurance rep on page 138 of our book: “We take a piece of the pie, and the bigger the pie, the more we get.”

Another way of looking at that is that the entire insurance industry and its future growth depend on us being sick. The sicker we are, the “bigger the pie,” and the more money the insurance companies make.

If everyone followed Bill Clinton’s diet, 80% of our cost of health care would go away, and the mighty “disease” insurance industry would be almost out of business. If there is no risk of heart disease, there is no need to insure against it. See my earlier post on this topic:

Rather than my picture today, here's a nice photo of our guests in town.

Do insurance companies “really” want us to be healthy? and a related post…

Screening for cancer…a very big business

If you like what you see here, you may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at 

Health Insurers Seek Higher Premiums –

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
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