by Susan France Bonner, Author of Opening a Registered Nurse’s Eyes: A Life Altering Journey Across North America.
The health care debate in the United States of America has reached critical mass. Over 16 years as a Registered Nurse with a Bachelors Degree, I have seen first hand the problems as well as the possible solutions.
The problem for affordable health care is “government involvement” and the solution is called “personal responsibility”. Let me give ya’all some background on the United States health care system. We have had Government involvement in our healthcare since 1949, when the National Labor Relations Board ruled in a dispute between the Inland Steel Co. and the United Steelworkers Union that the term “wages” included pension and insurance benefits. Therefore, when negotiating for wages, the union was allowed to negotiate benefit packages on behalf of workers as well. This ruling, affirmed later by the U.S. Supreme Court, further reinforced the employment-based system”. (1)
Then came Medicare; “passed in 1965, Medicare was a federal program with uniform standards that consisted of two parts. Part A represented the compulsory hospital insurance program the aged were automatically enrolled in upon reaching age 65. Part B provided supplemental medical insurance, or subsidized insurance for physicians’ services.” (1)
And finally, Medicaid is born; “In 1966, Medicaid provided benefits for 10 million recipients. By 1999, 37.5 million people received care under Medicaid (Henderson 2002, p. 433) (1)
So, here we are now. One fourth of our population is insured by private insurance regulated by the Government; one fourth of our population is insured by the Government; one forth of our population is not insured; and one forth of our population takes their health care into their own hands. I’m estimating of course.
So, which population would you like to be in?
My husband and myself, both being Health Care Professionals, I, a nurse and he, a retired New York City Paramedic; strive to be in the latter category. I will try to help you be in this category as well.
The first and most important step to taking control of your own health care is to identify your weaknesses and strengths. Oh, and your family history. Let’s face it — you can be the pillar of health and strive to live the “golden life”, but genes play a huge part in how and what you will become. So, information is your strongest defense against illness. And since we live in the “super duper information age”, everyone has a way to access that knowledge. I highly recommend utilizing more than one source as well. Now, I must put my disclaimer in this article at this time. My suggestions are not to be taken instead of a Doctors advise and/or medical council. Especially, if you and your loved ones are already in the system and under a Physician’s care. Always consult with your Doctor if you have concerns about your health.
With that said, I will continue on and give you some tools to keep you self reliant when it comes to your health. We covered knowledge. So, let’s move on. The second step is nutrition and exercise. I am not a Vegetarian, nor do I advocate that lifestyle. Living self sufficient; I have had animals and will have animals in the future to provide me with milk, eggs, and meat. I also believe, that we as humans, can consume a variety of foods without becoming sick from them.
My philosophy is “Moderation In All Things.” Eat what you want. Just do not eat yourself into a coma. There is no reason to. We have not yet reached the point that food is scarce. And as people who rely on their own resources; we have complete control of what we put into our bodies. As far as exercise is concerned; self-reliant people most likely get more exercise than half the population of the earth.
And, I do not want everyone to go out there and become a body builder, weight lifter or marathon runner. But a brisk walk once a day, stretching exercises, (yes, not only does stretching keep your muscles and ligaments limber, they strengthen them as well), and light lifting all help to keep your weight down and deter most injuries, acute illnesses and chronic diseases.
The third step is having the proper equipment to monitor your health. Of course, everyone should have a basic trauma kit. But if you have a traumatic injury, you are more than likely going to the Emergency room. I may tap into my husband’s vast Emergency Medical experience in the future to find ways of keeping you out of the ED, as we call it, “across the pond”, in future articles. Huh, something to ponder.
Anyway, the basics to help keep you out of the Doctors office, besides a well stocked trauma kit is; a Blood Pressure Cuff, Thermometer, Blood Glucose Machine, basic Urine Dipstick Kit and two books. Where There Is No Doctor; a village health care handbook, by David Werner and Where There Is No Dentist, by Murray Dickson. I hope that this has piqued your interest in staying healthy and opened your minds to more ways to stay self-reliant and out of the Doctor’s Office.
The Health Department warns against the dangers of self doctoring.
Reference: (1) https://eh.net/encyclopedia/article/thomasson.insurance.health.us
Ms. Bonner, I know you are an RN and therefore not suppose to prescribe care but could you do an article on how to clean minor wounds and dress, how to treat minor colds and stomach virus’, and
what to have in a home first aid kit. A lot of us are disaster preparers
and would like to have the items necessary for taking care of ourselves when the Emergency Department is not available and power is out etc. Many people in disaster situations could do a lot to treat
themselves to prevent severe infections after injuries occur. If you could do this I believe it could help a lot of us. Thank you.
As we get older it is harder to keep weight off. Also one has to be more vigilant generally to stay healthy as the body degenerates. I hope the health care reforms go through in the US. I remember the palpable fear I encountered (when stopping in Yonkers on a trip in 2004 to Vermont) of a woman talking on the phone about her mothers health to someone. You don’t get that up here in scotland although a little more apprehension about lifestyles up here and their effect probably wouldn’t be a bad thing
This was a great article! And for the first two commentors who fully didn’t read the article they should go back and do so. Some people will always be arrogant, but others will be open-minded. I think all Americans should be open-minded and learn how to take care of themselves, health wise, before running to a doctor or ER! My husband and I will both have to start to do that now that he has lost his medical insurance.
60 year old male, no health insurance
recently I had a sinus infection, I was exercising daily, eating well but it just would not go away. after 3 months I gave up and went to an urgent care facilty. The doctor prescribed levaquin and prednisone.
the levaquin was very expensive (25 dollars a pill, 1 pill a day for 9 days). This is by no stretch of the imagination a problem of govt. health care but rather of corporate greed. I am looking into buying a supply from overseas.
The solution is socialized medicine not more dog eat dog.
Knowing your body and staying healthy are great for preventing diseases, most would agree. I wonder what your perspective is on those of us who have health problems, such as Type 1 Diabetes, Epilepsy, etc. that permanently attach us to a doctor’s care, fees, insurance problems, etc. It’s virtually impossible to be self reliant in these cases – a matter of intense frustration.
What an interesting article, especially coming from the medical professional side of things. :) I like the idea of being more self sufficient, in every way, including medically. My opinion here, I believe that for the last couple of generations, people have been “trained” to run to the doctor at the first sniffle, run to the doctor, get a shot, take a pill and everything will be OK. What most people don’t realize is, for most of us, we would have gotten better ANYHOW, without “professional” intervention. By running to the doctor and getting yet another round of antibiotics, you make your body weaker in the long run, I agree with Susan, keep yourself healthy by eating right, get some exercise, and my personal thoughts, keep your mind active and positive.
Yes, Susan and her husband ARE in the medical profession, and by default will have more knowledge than most of the rest of us, BUT that doesn’t mean that the rest of us can’t take our health into our own hands, Susan recommends some good books, there are others out there too. It’s good to have this to know WHEN it is necessary to take medical problems to a professional vs taking care of it yourself. Of course, if you have a major trauma, broken bone, profuse bleeding, very high fever, extreme pain… there are times to turn ourselves over to the health professionals. Let’s lose the mindset that we CAN’T or SHOULDN’T treat ourselves, it’s just a matter of educating yourself and retraining yourself to know when it’s necessary and when it’s not necessary to visit the doc. Our bodies are wonderful things, self-repairing, able to defeat bacterial and viral invaders, if we would only allow it to do so instead of popping pharmaceuticals at every little sniffle.
Of course this is aimed at the majority of us who are healthy to begin with.
You also seem to take for granted that you are an RN, and you husband a paramedic have skills that enable you to be able to take care of yourself. I would doubt that the average American has had the opportunity to learn such skills. I know that I, as a microbiologist with a master’s degree do not, despite my formal education.
Another point, you chose not to point out that many people, upon taking their health into their own hands do not have the means, economically, to be self reliant. Many people do not go to the doctor until the last minute simply because they cannot afford a yearly checkup, or even minor health care needs.
Maybe for your next post you should look at more than just your situation: A healthy family with two healthcare providers that can just eat better and go on a brisk walk once in a while to maintain health.
The problem is “government involvement” and the solution is called “personal responsibility”.
Amazing how the corporate control of health care isn’t really addressed by Ms Bonner. It is all the government’s fault, huh?
Amazing amount of hubris.
Could you have found a better shill for the Health Insurance Companies?