Regarding the Essay on Reform More access isnt enough:
I agree with several points that Richard Pettingill makes in his article. There seems to be very little focus on prevention of chronic illness while there is too much talk about access to healthcare and disease management.
If only a good part of $20 billion being spent on EMR vendors could be used to hire retiring Army, Navy and Marine personnel to become drill instructors in every public school in this country, and mandate every institution getting even a penny of public funds to enforce an hour of rigorous mass physical education from K-12, we would have a fitter, less fat, sharper, smarter next generation. To do this right, you just need one high quality, physically-fit PE instructor to conduct coordinated mass PE for a whole schooljust like they do in many developing countries. We have lost over two generations to sloth and obesity; these days a new generation starts at 15-18, the typical age of first pregnancy in middle and high schools! Poor health and fitness robs us of the opportunity to be productive workers.
Just imagine this: For the median annual cost an obese Type II diabetic with vascular disease imposes on the society, you could hire a retired U.S. Marine and pay him a generous bonus as well! How does $80,000 starting salary for ex-servicemen as PE teachers sound? Imagine the good this one person can bring to the whole school! Such is the value of investment in public health, specifically physical education.
President Barack Obama is in a very unique position to think and act smarter when it comes to innovative approaches to healthcare. He is unfortunately surrounded by too many people from the EMR industry as his advisers.
He needs to seek out practicing physicians and public health leaders to guide him in this urgent and important task. The dividends of proper investment in preventive health will pay off in 20 years from now. It may unfortunately not win elections in four years.
Narayanachar S. Murali, M.D.Orangeburg, S.C.
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