The headline in a local newspaper reads, "White House to Strengthen Prescriptions in Health Law", indicating enhanced coverage for medications for the millions that will receive coverage through the health care system overhaul mandated by the Affordable Patient Care Act, which has come to be known as "Obamacare".
This increased benefit will surely be seen by some as a positive development. I question whether that is the case.
Although we spend more per capita on health care than any other country, our nation is the sickest on the planet and we consume the vast majority of the world's dangerous drugs. Increasing access to prescription medication is unlikely to change that.
Prescription medications carry serious side effects, including death. In recent years, these drugs have been marketed directly to us on television, thus we insist that our health care professionals prescribe them based on our layperson's analysis of what is best for us. These drugs do not provide cures, rather they treat symptoms.
Much of the illness and disability that we experience is self-inflicted through poor diet and nutrition, smoking, consuming alcohol to excess, and a sedentary lifestyle for which our bodies were not designed.
Providing more coverage for drugs takes the focus off of preventive care and away from taking responsibility for one's health.
From personal knowledge and experience, I am aware that in addition to exercise, a diet rich in whole grains, fiber, a large daily intake of fresh fruits and vegetables, and bolstered by key vitamins and supplements, are critical components of good health, including a strong immune system, and that good health does not sprout simply from taking pills.
Where in the Affordable Patient Care Act is government recognition and endorsement of the importance of nutrition and non-harmful, non-side-effect-ridden vitamins and supplements? To my knowledge, it is nowhere. There is no coverage for key supplements such as turmeric, iodine, magnesium, fish oil, or multi-vitamins, but if one desires addictive tranquilizer Xanax or controlled drug pain reliever Oxycodone and a health care professional is willing to prescribe it, it will be paid for by the government (we who pay taxes).
If we were truly interested in preventing disease and illness rather than treating symptoms once a serious health problem has developed, health care plans would serve to encourage the elements of a healthy lifestyle.