THOSE OF you who don't live in the US and aren't privvy to the wonder that is most expensive yet least efficient sick health care system IN THE INDUSTRIALIZED WORLD will have a hard time understanding this post.
Friends in Spain never were able to grasp the plot -- and this is the country of Almodovar, people -- of Denzel movie John Q about a health insurance company denying payment for an organ transplant (because that is what insurance companies do best in the US, deny claims until the patient pays up (or as it's call on the inside, "retire an account", for which employees are awarded).
My eye doctor cannot get health insurance (and he's a doctor serving the health care system... see the irony here?) because he once had a small tumor, since removed. No matter and no matter that he'd been clear for over a decade. Nope. He's blacklisted because something beyond his control had happened. Once.
Living in England, I never feared bankruptcy because of a medical emergency.
In the US, medical expenses are the NUMBER ONE reason for personal bankruptcy.
I read a lot about health, the healthcare industry and preventative medicine. Sadly, US *healthcare* (I am loathe to use that term) focuses almost zero energy on preventative care (where would the profits be in that?).
Do you want to know the surprising group that's starting to invest time and energy into preventative care?
The US Military.
On Monday Dr. Mercola (yes, a regular and unapologetic read) linked to this 132-page document from Military Medicine -- the journal of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States -- Total Force Fitness for the 21st Century: A New Paradigm.
Maybe the military couldn't afford their health insurance premiums anymore... nah, we kid, they actually get healthcare via the government, like many of the uneducated masses on Medicaid who oppose so-called socialist (read: goverment-led) Obamacare.
This Total Force Fitness seems pretty special because it DOESN'T recommend sundry treatments, surgeries and pills to take care of a health issue after you already have it. It recommends a lifestyle that will prevent those problems in the first place. I know, hardly believable, right? Although, when you think about it, the military needs healthy soldiers in the field (might we suggest getting rid of the fast food joints in places like Baghdad's green zone, then? The army's no place for a KFC-Taco Bell).
AMSUS (the American Medical Surgeons of the US) have even recommended things like Spiritual Fitness, a phrase that probably makes the C-suite at Big Pharma and United Healthcare alike dry heave into its trash bins.
Granted the document opens with an ominous statement about our state of sustained conflict and the mission to preserve the health of those in harm's way. BUT aren't most Americans in harm's way every time they visit the grocery store, eat at Olive Garden or sit through a daily 2-hour commute? There are plenty of people out there, including experts like Kelly Brownell, who believe so. If, of course, harm is considered to be bad health/obesity/diabetes et all caused by our jackass national lifestyle.
There really can be a takeaway if you can tuck away any misgivings you have about the military, much like a drag queen does her junk before a show.
And this isn't in any way meant to belittle the military forces' and their daily hardships. BUT we the laypeople at home have our own daily battle to wage (so maybe we are in a state of sustained conflict) against our ever-expanding waistlines and medical bills. Maybe it's time we got military about it?
[Official end of diatribe]