One of the best ways to deal with health care is preventative medicine. Unfortunately in this country we do not have too much in place in this department. We have great researching working hard on cures for all kinds of diseases. Much has been discovered and patented in this country in the last one hundred years. Research scientist from all over the world would like to work in the United States because they know they can make money from their discoveries and own some of the product. To this end there are lots of cutting edge technologies for the very rich or the very well insured. This has much to do with the high cost of health care. Because we spend so little money on preventative care, much of it is not covered at all by health insurance and many people are unable to get insurance a problem is often quite too far gone by the time it is discovered for treatment.
Why do people not have insurance? According to Rush Limbaugh, because they don't want it. It is true that if you are a normal healthy person it feels almost wasteful to send $400 a month off to some company for a service you never use. You are betting against your self. You are hoping that coverage is still available should you get sick. But then life happens, you have a car payment or a house payment or some other reason you can't fit that $400 into your budget when you aren't even using the doctor. Then what happens? You get ill and you can never find insurance again. No one wants to take a "pre-existing condition" because it isn't profitable to cover someone who will actually use the insurance.
If insurance covered things like going to the gym, or meditation, or nutritional advice, more people would stay healthy and not cash in on their benefits. The way medicine is set up now, a doctor could receive eight years of medical school plus four of undergraduate, and still never realize that getting a dog would aid in a heart patient's recovery. Not only does a dog provide the love outlet that recovery patients benefit from, the exercise necessary helps heart patients get back on their feet.
In fact, when a fat person walks into a doctor's office with early onset diabetes, it's sometimes too late to even discuss lifestyle changes. Doctors are trained to prescribe medicine, and possibly surgery. They may know from a personal interest about alternative solutions but they aren't certified to suggest any. You tend to go to the doctor after you are already broken. Here's a really sad thing about that, to receive any kind of meaningful cancer treatment your body needs to be strong. Radiation therapy destroys cells. If you are already weak from the disease itself, there isn't much modern medicine can do for you. That is why early detection is stressed so much.
Once upon a time certain life skills were actually taught in public and private schools. From childhood people were aware of the food "pyramid" and some basic nutritional facts. Look at black and white photos of random kids from the 1960s. Not very many of them were fat. They may have drunk milk instead of soda and run around more. Fast food was a treat and not the norm. Home economics was a offered in high school. Obesity is rampant in schools now. There are even reality TV shows featuring fat kids. Schools sell soda in vending machines on premises. Serving sizes for soda have tripled and quadrupled since the product was invented. These poor kids no longer even know what's good for them.
Nutritional information is labeled on food, in what is supposed to be simple to read language, but it presupposes a 1960 era education. If English is your second language and no one has bothered to impress upon you the importance of getting fluent, the information will hardly be accessible to you. Even if you can read well, you would have to have a basic understanding of chemistry, biology, what a calorie does, for heaven's sake, for that information to sink in. Too many people strictly count calories, thinking if all they eat in a day is one candy bar, they are safe to lose weight.
Is it any wonder these people end up one day in the doctor's office, overweight, plaque on their arteries, trouble with both large and small intestines? Fiber to many people is something you take in a weight loss pill, not something to incorporate into daily life. There is a troubling increase in people with irritable bowel syndrome. This is often treated with drugs and sometimes surgery because by the time people are in the doctor's office too much damage has been done to reverse with healthy eating.
For reasons I never understood, newer cities are zoned with the jobs located more than walking distance from homes. People spend hours a day in cars which is not good for the circulation in your legs. It is not good for your sore back. The road rage and the stress is not good for your psyche. The time spent on commuting is not good for families. The time that unsupervised minors spend at home waiting for their parents to get home from far away jobs is not good for the neighborhood. Gangs of bored kids are ripe for vandalism, drugs, and all sorts of unhealthy mischief. Why not zone like older cities? In Chicago and New York, apartments are located right above markets. People can walk to work and a hundred years ago when people lived where they worked they didn't die so much from road rage and heart attacks. In fact if they could avoid accidents, they lived well.
You actually underwrite your own insurance policy a little bit. More people die in car accidents than a lot of things. If you chose to commute a lot you up your ante. If you chose to smoke cigarettes you add more. While you may not see immediate benefit from healthy living, imagine all the potential doctor bills you are avoiding.