Bad Health Despite Health Coverage

Since President Obama took office during his first term, we’ve heard a lot of acrimonious talk about the Affordable Care Act (ACA) most call “Obamacare”. The issue of healthcare for all or some promises to drive a wedge between Americans trying to decide where they stand on the issue. I won’t argue the merits either for or against but, an article by Dr. Sanjay Gupta, expresses the view that healthcare doesn’t of itself add up to better health, in fact on some levels there is a decline of health as he cited the experience of his uncle who became less active, consequently less healthy, after getting on Medicare.

Such news may not be headline-grabbing but, the view supported by this article is that good health rather, is the product of a lifestyle of behaviors, diets and habits that together create the framework that produces “good health”. Something that cannot be “mandated”. Dr. Gupta’s assessment of what he calls “baseline benefits” indicate its better to be insured versus having no insurance at all. Never-the-less, the focus of our attention on whether having access to universal healthcare as a panacea overlooks the greater problem which usually is a lack of personal interest in something as simple as exercise, proper hygiene, well balanced diets and adequate rest.

In 1969, during the Vietnam War, a battle was fought over a heavily fortified mound of dirt called “Hamburger Hill”. This particular skirmish caused a national outcry because it had no strategic value. After ten days of fighting, more than 1000 soldiers died, tons of ordinance had been expended, and excessive mission resources had been committed to a losing effort. Eventually the plan to take Hamburger Hill was abandoned and a different war strategy ensued. This is not to suggest that ACA is a modern day Hamburger Hill that ultimately will be deserted. However, “health” without a proper strategy will definitely not have “good” in front of it.


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