Last Sunday’s Conversation about the “Factors of health” pointed out how income, education, environment and behavior contributed to health and longevity. Even as the Affordable Care Act will give more people access to insurance and doctors, to live healthier lives people will need to focus more on how they take care of themselves.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
People need maintenance
Re “Does wealth = health?” (Forum, April 6): As a physician, I was surprised to read Daniel Weintraub’s belief that “health care can patch us up, but it can’t really keep us healthy.”
Continuing with the analogy of an automobile, I wonder what Weintraub would say to the auto enthusiast who invests in regular maintenance and care of a 50-year-old classic? It is common knowledge that the uninsured and underinsured do not practice preventive care, and many delay care with catastrophic consequences. You cannot achieve primary care without insurance, and this is exactly what the Affordable Care Act is trying to accomplish.
The problem is not who gets primary care, but how it is used. Implementation takes time. We certainly cannot affect the impact of chronic illness in just two years. We can all use a little less stress, but a 20 percent improvement in health is a good start.
– Charles DeCarli, Sacramento
Take care of your body
I read the column by Daniel Weintraub with great interest. After I had a painful operation, my doctor told me that if I didn’t change my lifestyle, I would be back soon. That was 41 years ago.
I learned to get to know my own body, and I quit my job. No more stress and 12-hour workdays. I quit smoking, changed my diet, subscribed to Prevention Magazine and read several books about natural remedies.
So far I am doing fine. It does not matter if one is poor or rich, if one abuses the body constantly the pain and cost will be high. Educating the public about how to live a healthier lifestyle should do wonders. I had to learn to eat not what I liked but what my body liked. Reducing stress helped greatly.
– Frank Gladik, Elk Grove
Will people take advantage?
Health care is a volatile issue because we’re talking choice, lifestyle and death. Appropriate to our country’s culture, accountability and responsibility remain unmentioned.
My health insurance rates more than doubled under the new Affordable Care Act. Why? I’m told it’s because I:
A. Have the good fortune to not have had a serious disease or accident.
B. Choose to responsibly take care of my personal health.
I believe President Barack Obama’s plan is headed in the right direction. Yet, to paraphrase Daniel Weintraub, access to health care doesn’t necessarily mean people will choose positive health care practices. Those of us who exercise and eat a healthy diet are being penalized, asked to carry those who choose to smoke and eat whatever they wish.
The medical industry and citizens want free reign to maximize returns on minimal investment. Someone has to give; I hope it’s a choice for responsibility.
– Mitch Darnell, Sacramento
Bruce Miller – Occam’s razor applies very well to finding the keys to healthy living. If I’m fat, I’m probably eating too much. If I’m tired, I probably need more sleep. There could be other reasons, but listening to what our bodies tell us and then applying the most obvious solutions first will usually do the trick. Even if the ACA is a success, which I very much doubt, it will do little for those who don’t pay proper attention to their own health.