by Susan France Bonner, Author of Opening a Registered Nurse’s Eyes: A Life Altering Journey Across North America.
The health care debate in the United States of America has reached critical mass. Over 16 years as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelors Degree, I have seen first hand the problems as well as the possible solutions.
The problem for affordable health care is “government involvement” and the solution is called “personal responsibility”. Let me give ya’all some background on the United States health care system. We have had Government involvement in our healthcare since 1949, when the National Labor Relations Board ruled in a dispute between the Inland Steel Co. and the United Steelworkers Union that the term “wages” included pension and insurance benefits. Therefore, when negotiating for wages, the union was allowed to negotiate benefit packages on behalf of workers as well. This ruling, affirmed later by the U.S. Supreme Court, further reinforced the employment-based system”. (1)
Then came Medicare; “passed in 1965, Medicare was a federal program with uniform standards that consisted of two parts. Part A represented the compulsory hospital insurance program the aged were automatically enrolled in upon reaching age 65. Part B provided supplemental medical insurance, or subsidized insurance for physicians’ services.” (1)
And finally, Medicaid is born; “In 1966, Medicaid provided benefits for 10 million recipients. By 1999, 37.5 million people received care under Medicaid (Henderson 2002, p. 433) (1)
So, here we are now. One fourth of our population is insured by private insurance regulated by the Government; one fourth of our population is insured by the Government; one forth of our population is not insured; and one forth of our population takes their health care into their own hands. I’m estimating of course.
So, which population would you like to be in?
My husband and myself, both being Health Care Professionals, I, a nurse and he, a retired New York City Paramedic; strive to be in the latter category. I will try to help you be in this category as well.
The first and most important step to taking control of your own health care is to identify your weaknesses and strengths. Oh, and your family history. Let’s face it — you can be the pillar of health and strive to live the “golden life”, but genes play a huge part in how and what you will become. So, information is your strongest defense against illness. And since we live in the “super duper information age”, everyone has a way to access that knowledge. I highly recommend utilizing more than one source as well. Now, I must put my disclaimer in this article at this time. My suggestions are not to be taken instead of a Doctors advise and/or medical council. Especially, if you and your loved ones are already in the system and under a Physician’s care. Always consult with your Doctor if you have concerns about your health.
With that said, I will continue on and give you some tools to keep you self reliant when it comes to your health. We covered knowledge. So, let’s move on. The second step is nutrition and exercise. I am not a Vegetarian, nor do I advocate that lifestyle. Living self sufficient; I have had animals and will have animals in the future to provide me with milk, eggs, and meat. I also believe, that we as humans, can consume a variety of foods without becoming sick from them.
My philosophy is “Moderation In All Things.” Eat what you want. Just do not eat yourself into a coma. There is no reason to. We have not yet reached the point that food is scarce. And as people who rely on their own resources; we have complete control of what we put into our bodies. As far as exercise is concerned; self-reliant people most likely get more exercise than half the population of the earth.
And, I do not want everyone to go out there and become a body builder, weight lifter or marathon runner. But a brisk walk once a day, stretching exercises, (yes, not only does stretching keep your muscles and ligaments limber, they strengthen them as well), and light lifting all help to keep your weight down and deter most injuries, acute illnesses and chronic diseases.
The third step is having the proper equipment to monitor your health. Of course, everyone should have a basic trauma kit. But if you have a traumatic injury, you are more than likely going to the Emergency room. I may tap into my husband’s vast Emergency Medical experience in the future to find ways of keeping you out of the ED, as we call it, “across the pond”, in future articles. Huh, something to ponder.
Anyway, the basics to help keep you out of the Doctors office, besides a well stocked trauma kit is; a Blood Pressure Cuff, Thermometer, Blood Glucose Machine, basic Urine Dipstick Kit and two books. Where There Is No Doctor; a village health care handbook, by David Werner and Where There Is No Dentist, by Murray Dickson. I hope that this has piqued your interest in staying healthy and opened your minds to more ways to stay self-reliant and out of the Doctor’s Office.
The Health Department warns against the dangers of self doctoring.
Reference: (1) http://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/thomasson.insurance.health.us
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