As the dust settled from the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), one of my LinkedIn groups got into a debate about what it all means and what needs to happen next. I got such a positive reaction from one of my comments that I thought I’d share it here, followed by details of the documentary I mentioned.
The aging population adds significantly to healthcare costs, but that’s a global problem and not specific to the US, so what is it about our nation that makes our healthcare system the most expensive in the world by far and without the positive outcomes to justify it?
As a consumer advocate, I believe our problems are rooted in politics and societal beliefs, and I find it quite telling that, according to the HBO documentary “The Weight of the Nation,” public health officials can accurately gauge one’s average weight and BMI by zip code. They’ve also noticed that longevity in poor neighborhoods can be over 20 YEARS LESS than in affluent neighborhoods on the other side of the same town. Watch the video and see the stats at http://www.mhealthtalk.com/2012/06/americas-obesity-epidemic-a-big-problem-updated/.
I especially feel for children born into poor families, or the “new poor” that were once middle-class families. Those are the families where the parents lost their job and/or home at no fault of their own, got hit with a health emergency that forced them into bankruptcy, and easily burned through any retirement or capital investments they once had. Poor families often have:
- Less access to healthcare, even from pre-birth,
- Less access to affordable and nutritious foods,
- Less exercise opportunity, with fewer places to safely play,
- Inferior public schools (college seems out-of-reach),
- Fewer job opportunities, and
- Less say in government.