Friday, November 02, 2007

The Cost of a Healthy Life Style

Further to the matter of presidential candidates and the positions they are taking on health care, Don Arnwine has asked for my reaction to the views of candidate Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas. According to Don, Huckabee is emphasizing “the costs and impacts of obesity and other personal behaviours such as smoking.”

To begin, I’d like to make clear my support of efforts to deal with these behavioral issues and the health problems associated with them.

Wife Marilyn and I are enjoying an active retirement that good health makes possible. It is a blessing we wish for everyone. But we are also examples of how long life adds to the cost of health care.

For most of our lives, we were rare users of health care services. Three babies, an appendectomy and a minor accident now and then were about it.

However, I’ve recently been diagnosed with what in pre-political-correctness days was called senile diabetes. So I’m now on medication for the rest of my life and a permanent customer for blood glucose testing supplies. And I’ll be seeing the doctor every three months or so, rather than every few years as had previously been the case.

Marilyn has had a hip replaced and may some day be looking to replace a gimpy knee that has seen surgery twice. She recently had rotator cuff surgery. Within the week she had an episode in the local airport that fractured a metatarsal that twenty years ago might have bent rather than broken.

Add to that menopause and mild asthma and the medicine cabinet that used to contain only personal toiletries and cosmetics is gradually coming to look more and more like a small pharmacy.

Then there is dentistry, which is a story by itself.

Had we been overweight smokers during all of our adult lives, we might well have departed this world by now, thus avoiding all this health care expense.

So what we need to do is to live healthy life styles and deal with the cost problem so that we can afford the long and active lives that will result.

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