Health spending still going up—with no end in sight.


Nancy Snyderman on NBC, reports the latest “disease care” message of confusion to morning and evening viewers alike.

And “confusion over clarity” is king

Every major television network has a health-related story every single day of the year. Half of the stories are about problems created by our love affair with meat and dairy and the other half focus on possible solutions, magic-bullet breakthroughs or the genome mapping health care of the future.

The pieces that deal with the “problems” are usually accurate. The other ones, not so much. With the exception of CNN’s “Last Heart Attack” and a rare appearance by Dr. T. Colin Campbell on a network program—you will get a steady does of confusing information. What you hear one night will likely be contradicted by another piece within a week.

Meanwhile our cost of “health care” (disease care) continues to rise. Here’s the latest report from Medicare released on 6-12-12 (link to source below):

Bethesda, MD — New estimates released today from the Office of the Actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) project that aggregate health care spending in the United States will grow at an average annual rate of 5.7 percent for 2011 through 2021, or 0.9 percentage point faster than the expected growth in the gross domestic product (GDP). The health care share of GDP by 2021 is projected to rise to 19.6 percent, from its 2010 level of 17.9 percent.

By 2021, government spending at all levels for health care is projected to reach nearly 50 percent of total national health expenditures, with the federal government accounting for approximately two-thirds of that share.

That means for every $1,000 of health care expense, our federal government (us taxpayers) will be paying $333, state and local governments paying $167—with the remaining $500 shared by employers and individuals.

Probably the most powerful major health “special” EVER. Congrats to Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

Insurance companies? Don’t kid yourself about them; they’re not paying for anything. They just spread out the bill among all their customers—they get a piece of the “health care pie” and, the bigger the pie, the more they get. So, as the cost of health care goes up, the more profitable the giant health insurance business.

In our book, we reported on the skyrocketing cost of health care for the past fifty years:

In 1960, the cost of health care in the Unites States was 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product (GDP). In less than fifty years, it tripled to 16 percent, and U.S. officials now project that it will double again to 31 percent within the next twenty-five years. This cost is simply unsustainable, and we all know it, but we haven’t yet figured out what can be done.

Standing at 18% now, the latest government numbers seem to be right on track to hit 31% of GDP by 2035. A dire forecast to be sure, and one that the economy can’t afford to sustain.

After reading through several thousand words from the government, I was not surprised to notice that there was no mention of the obvious solution to our problem. It was all about the Affordable Care Act (Obama Care), all about who pays what, and all about bureaucratic red tape. No mention whatsoever of teaching all of our citizens exactly how to take charge of their health. Source article: Health Affairs Web First Article; 6-12-12

The Bottom Line. We need to teach people exactly what they need to do to take charge of their own health. How much would that cost? With roughly 115 million households in the USA, how much would it cost the government to give every one of them this packet below? At about $50 each, it would cost $5.75 billion. As a percent of our $2.7 trillion cost of health care, it would be a mere 2/10th of one percent.

This wouldn’t solve our health care crisis overnight, but it would be a pretty good start. Maybe it would get one or two million of those households moving in the right direction.

Handy 4-piece take-charge-of-your-health kit—from Amazon.com

Want to find out how healthy your family is eating? Take our free 4Leaf Diagnostic Survey. It takes less than five minutes and you can score it yourself. After taking the survey, please give me your feedback as it will be helpful in the development of our future 4Leaf app for smartphones. Send feedback to jmorrishicks@me.com

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To order more of my favorite books—visit our online BookStore now

J. Morris Hicks, working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

For help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4Leaf page or some great recipes at Lisa’s 4Leaf Kitchen.

Got a question? Let me hear from you at jmorrishicks@me.com. Or give me a call on my cell at 917-399-9700.

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Blogging daily at hpjmh.com…from the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks, board member, T. Colin Campbell Foundation

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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