Regardless of how much money a person has, where they live, or what they do for a living, the great equalizer is health. No amount of money can give us back our lost good health. The emphasis of any truly effective healthcare system should be on preventing illness.
How to accomplish this? First, by providing people access to credible health information that can be easily understood and used, and not in a way that is forced down peoples' throats or that "guilts" us into action, but by providing transparent choices that empower us towards good health.
In addition, we need to make certain that everyone has access to good healthcare. That doesn't necessarily mean the healthcare we all experience today - it means healthcare where we have time to develop a healing relationship with our doctors, where wellness is discussed even more than illness, where each of us takes greater responsibility for our health and wellbeing, relying more on ourselves and less on the healthcare system where appropriate.
More? Start early - in childhood. Help kids develop and embrace healthy dietary and lifestyle habits that will sustain them over long and fulfilling lives, remembering that up to 70% of all illness can be tied to unhealthy dietary and lifestyle choices.
Sure there's more, and we all need to bring our ideas for improving the healthcare system to our government representatives. The good news is that they're asking for our input.
As an example, last week Governor Purdue hosted a remarkable forum on Health Care Reform that was also attended by the White House's director of Health Reform, Nancy-Ann DeParle.
I was honored to be invited to the forum, and listened as people shared their stories of how insurance woes were putting them on the brink of bankruptcy, listened as experts brought up new ways to address our healthcare system's problems, listened as prevention was promoted as a core part of our future healthcare plan. The latter occurred for only a few moments, but it was nonetheless clear that the hallowed halls of the White House will hear the words "preventive care" repeated multiple times.
There's reason for hope that soon each of us will be served by an improved system of healthcare, one where we are empowered to be well, where our healthcare providers are honored partners in the quest for sustained good health, where we have confidence that our leaders not only hear our pleas but reply to them effectively and with compassion and understanding.
This dream does not appear to be far off. The government is listening. Make your voice heard - contact your local representative with your ideas.
The Harris Teeter yourwellness team will continue to do our part by providing the best healthcare information available so that you can make the healthiest choices for you and your family.
** Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment. **