July 17 2012
Vicki E. Alger
In a recent Time editorial Anthony DeBenedet, MD, asked a salient question: Does health care actually make us healthier? More to the point, for all the cheering about the recent SCOTUS ruling from some quarters, he stated that, “in the end, it’s hardly certain that health care for all will give us a healthier nation.”
Studies have found “that much of the care we receive probably provides marginal clinical benefit, and that more care isn’t always better,” says Dr. DeBenedet, who explains:
The mere act of providing health insurance probably doesn’t correlate with better health because we are actually more in control of our health, and longevity for that matter, than we realize. Good health is mostly determined by our personal choices and environments — rather than our insurances, hospitals, procedures, doctors and drugs. Even our genetics probably play only a minor to moderate role at best when it comes to developing chronic illness or cancer (with exception for strongly penetrated genetic diseases).
If there is a benefit to ObamaCare, notes Dr. DeBenedet, it’s in serving as “a reminder that we still rule supreme over our bodies and our health. And that the basics — exercise, vegetables, a healthy weight, a community to belong to, a loving partner, friends that care — can take us a very long way.”
It seems many in the Obama administration have already begun work on mandating exercise, vegetables, and a healthy weight. Hopefully, the upcoming election will slow down any plans to tackle our freedom of association—be it choosing our spouses, friends, or community. It seems the best prescription for a healthy life apparently hasn’t changed: heaping helpings of personal responsibility, along with a sensible regimen of moderation.