Is Your Health My Business?
In the Era of Privacy Concerns Should Health Issues Be More Public?
By Charles Karel Bouley II
HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) laws aside, is your health my business? When do I, or anyone, get to tell you about your health, your life choices and physical state of well being? If never, why not?
And I mean that, why not? Your health is very much MY business, and the business of my country. And we spend fortunes on it.
I think of that today, because yet another report has come out about how sick Americans are, dying, really. Thursday, January 31, 2019 USA Today carried a story with the headline “Half Of Americans Have Heart Disease.” Upon further inspection, it attributes a large portion of that number to high blood pressure, the precursor to stroke and other cardiovascular incidents.
That’s just sad. Me? My blood pressure is 120/60 as we speak. Pulse 59. Cholesterol 108. I’m 5.6 years old (I don’t age, I upgrade) and take zero meds to sustain this. I am in the 12% of Americans that are metabolically healthy. My BMI at 189 pounds is such that I am not classified obese, unlike almost three-quarters of my fellow Americans.
But I was. I was 100-plus pounds heavier under two years ago and on six medications for all kinds of maladies including blood pressure and cholesterol. Then I became a plant-based eater and started walking my dog Ember Teerese six-to-10 miles a day. And Viola!
My use of the health care system, pharmacies and my reliance on any state or federal aid for such assistance all but vanished. And if I keep it up, I may prolong becoming any kind of burden to it, to my fellow Americans or my family. But over the last 35 years my various illnesses have cost you, the taxpayer, money, when I had no insurance, when I had no job.
And in the US today think of how we’ve talked and talked and spent and spent on healthcare. Congress, Senate, The President, The Supreme Court, voters in some states, all have set aside real progress on other issues like infrastructure, climate change and a lot of the nation’s business to fight over health care countless times now. And we are poised for another showdown over Obamacare, Medicare For All and more.
And meanwhile we get sicker while the people we pay to represent us fight over healthcare. My government spends countless hours over it. States struggle with it. Individuals buckle under its weight. Medical bankruptcies soar, courts have to come in to the picture. Lives ruined. And as the nation gets sicker and less able to work, more go on state or federal aid, and while I begrudge no one care, it is being paid for by someone. Me. You.
And yet, so much, 2/3rds or more, of what ailes us is directly related to our diet, our exercise, our physical and mental health. So when do I, or anyone, get to say, put down the burger? You are unhealthy, obese, on meds, stop eating the processed foods. Hell, stores, stop selling foods that are toxic, filled with sugars, processed meat or dairy? Walk or Bike to work. Speak to a nutritionist more than Facebook. When do we get to start demanding cities, workplaces, restaurants, stores all designed to help make us healthier, not as an option or oddity, as a perk for the wealthy, but mandated for all? Mandated, as in, all of our health becomes all of our business?
Why isn’t your health, and the health of your neighbor, why isn’t MY health YOUR business?
Because in reality, it is. And until we start looking at the health of each and every person around us, of our community, of our cities, our states, our country, until we see the actual mental and physical health of everyone as part of our daily business, then we will continue to be sick.
And that means being an active voice in their lives for change and progress. Learning about yourself, your diet, your exercise, your health, and then sharing that with your friends, your family and yes, strangers. We must talk as much to each other about the realities of life, about how sick each of us really, truly is, and then start helping each other find real solutions. Drugs for conditions are NOT solutions. They are treatments for symptoms. Not cures.
I found the one that works for me. And it really is easy. But America, it’s time we all start helping each other find solutions that don’t involve a pill or big pharma, but real food, real fresh air, real sleep, real relaxation, real fellowship with friends and loved ones…it’s time we get real with each other before half of us end up taking care of the other half, quite literally. Because now half of us have heart disease and are headed down a path where the more doctors you see, the more doctors you see. And the more it costs, you, and me, and not just financially. If half of America is sick, all of America dies. So yes, your health is very much my business, and mine yours. Our survival depends on it.
Charles Karel Bouley (Karel) is a Las Vegas based entertainer and author. He has a long history in progressive talk radio, topic-driven television and print journalism as well as many accomplishments as a vocalist and stage performer. He can be found at reallykarel.com