A look at the cost of health care PIE—in the USA


According to KaiserEDU.org (See link below), there are three primary drivers of healthcare cost increases in recent years:

Technology and prescription drugs — Some analysts state that the availability of more expensive, state-of-the-art medical technologies and drugs fuels health care spending for development costs and because they generate demand for more intense, costly services even if they are not necessarily cost-effective.

Rise in chronic diseases – It is estimated that health care costs for chronic disease treatment account for over 75% of national health expenditures. In particular, there has been tremendous focus on the rise in rates of overweight and obesity and their contribution to chronic illnesses and health care spending.  The changing nature of illness has sparked a renewed interest in the possible role for prevention to help control costs. 

Administrative costs – At least 7% of health care expenditures are estimated to go toward for the administrative costs of government health care programs and the net cost of private insurance.

Leveraging the simple concept of maximizing the percent of your calories from whole, plant-based foods

The good news. The one bit of good news in all of the above is highlighted in green—a renewed interest in prevention. But the problem is that what the industry calls prevention is not prevention at all. It’s just early detection of disease. It amounts to nothing more than a convenient way for the physicians and pharmaceuticals to recruit new customers for their products and services.

Nowhere in the entire website was there a single mention of the importance of teaching people how to take charge of their health with their food choices—a move that would greatly reduce the costs in all three of the “driving categories” listed above. Want to know why? Like all other members of our healthcare system, Kaiser gets a piece of the pie—and the bigger the pie, the more they get.

Here’s what that PIE looks like:

The Bottom Line. Every slice of the above $2.8 trillion pie (2012) could be trimmed by 70 to 80% with a nationwide shift to a whole foods, plant-based diet. Yet, not one person within the thousands of organizations represented above has a financial incentive for us to be healthy.

Therefore, the change will not come from within the system, but from outside. It will come from concerned leaders in business who have a powerful incentive to make their employees healthy.

Those rare few who choose to be first will be rewarded with a much more profitable enterprise. Eventually, those CEOs who choose not to instill a true “wellness culture” within their companies—will not be able to compete with those who do. (Consecutive daily blog #639)

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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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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One Response to A look at the cost of health care PIE—in the USA

  1. Nathan says:

    I just wanted to point out that the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) of Kaiseredu.org is an entirely separate entity from Kaiser Permanente or Kaiser Industries. They coincidentally share the name Kaiser. I don’t think they particularly profit from the US healthcare system being the mess that it is, since they aren’t paid for services, they are instead a non-profit non-partisan information resource, like the CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest). Both seem to me to be precisely the kind of organizations that needs to get on board with and understand the power of a plant-based diet: they have the financial resources and the respect to reach a large audience of public health minded professionals, both in the US and beyond. The international community might be a really good place to foster plant-based eating, since America doesn’t seem capable of “leading the way” just yet, and many other cultures currently, or in living memory were predominantly plant based.

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