“A Doctor’s Take on Obamacare: Are Patients Really Ready for This?”

Health

Health (Photo credit: Tax Credits)

 

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This August 13, 2013 article on the PhillyMag website talks about an issue not often spoken about when we hear debates about healthcare coverage in America.  As this article points out, there are those who are sick or in need of medical care, and stating they “can’t afford it” yet they will put money into non-necessities, the example in the article being an Alaskan Cruise.

 

It is my uneducated opinion, that all the healthcare coverage the government gives us, is only as good as those who receive it put it to work.  What I mean by this, is that until each and every one of us puts our health ahead of luxuries the best healthcare plan in the world isn’t going to help us.

 

I am on a fixed income, so I don’t have much to begin with, but I’m finding that there are choices even I can make that can impact my health even on a limited income.

 

 

 

When I was a smoker, I put my nicotine addiction ahead of many things,  if I had to pick between buying a couple of days worth of food or buying enough cigarettes to last me until my next check, I would pick the smokes …. not because I wasn’t hungry or felt I didn’t need food, but because of the hold nicotine had on me.  Once I realized that not only was smoking hurting me financially, but my health was slowly deteriorating, I started to re-think my priorities.  I sought help with overcoming my addiction, and have been a former smoker for the past 4 years.  During that time, I’ve had more money for healthier food choices, I have been able to work on losing weight, my clothing doesn’t have a yellow tint to it, I can walk further then I could when I was smoking, and the list goes on.

 

In order for me to quit smoking and begin to make healthier choices, I needed to take a long hard look at what my priorities were, compared to things I wanted to do, and I decided that being healthy was more important than smoking, because being health increases my odds that I will get to see my Nieces and Nephew grow up and start families of their own.  It means that as I lose weight, clothing will cost less, furniture will last longer, and I will decrease my risk of developing a serious health condition.

 

I have insurance, but to be honest even though it has been good for covering things I’ve gone in for medically, it was really useless until I started choosing to look at what the impact of the choices I was making had.  When I was smoking, I rarely went to the doctor, unless I was sick and not able to solve the problem on my own.  Now, if I feel that something is beyond my capabilities to treat on my own, I will go and get it looked at, but I also will contact my doctor with questions as they arise about weight lose methods, dietary supplements, and anything else that I’m considering as a possible way to improve my health.  I have gotten sick less often since I quit smoking, so now I’m able to put more energy into preventive measures.  I had to teach myself that healthy food was a better investment than smokes, or that walking to a store 2 blocks from home was a better choice then driving there.  Yes it is more convenient to drive places, but for me owning a car contributed to my weight gain, and since I could barely afford the maintenance on the vehicle and still have money for things like food, shelter, clothing, medical needs ….etc. I opted to get rid of my car.  I walk or ride a bike to do a lot of things, but will also use public transportation or get help from friends or family if the errand consists of something that is too difficult to transport by bike or on foot, or if the distance is beyond what I can travel on foot or by bike.

 

I have been told by my doctor that he is impressed with the choices I’m making despite the financial limitations I face, he has also encouraged me to ask questions about preventive things.  But, until I took the first step and asked for help then followed through with what was offered, the insurance and healthcare I have available to me didn’t help.  It wasn’t until I made choices to improve my health that my insurance really became useful, and amazingly while I’ve made healthier choices, I’ve actually had less need to use my insurance because I’ve been healthier overall.  doctors can have the best training in the world, but until we tap into their knowledge it’s useless, just like insurance is useless until we start taking an active role and choosing our health over luxuries.

 

Our minds can make or break our health it’s all about how we prioritize our needs and what we label as being a need.

 

I was talking to someone who I know is in a similar financial position as me.  This person said they were living on hot dogs because that’s all they could afford to buy.  Then within a few days maybe a week, the same person was telling me they were taking a trip to the ocean.  I was dumbfounded at this, because the person told me they were living on hot dogs because they couldn’t afford anything else, yet I’m pretty sure that what they paid for several nights in a hotel along the ocean could have paid for 2 or 3 months worth of food and the food would have been healthier than hot dogs.  This person has health issues, but because the person puts a trip higher on the list of priorities then food, the person is not eating healthy which is likely making it more difficult for them to manage their diabetes.  The person also gets upset when their doc tells them they need to work harder at managing their diabetes.  So in this case, the person is choosing lots of other things as higher priorities than their health and sadly if the person continues on this course, they will likely be yet another number in the line of people with mental illnesses who dies 25 years before someone without a mental illness …. not because of the person’s mental illness, but because of the choices they are making about what is important.  This person has similar health coverage to me, but this person isn’t benefiting from it because of the choices they are making.

 

our mindset will decide the choices we make.  Is your mindset one of good or bad health?

 

 

 

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