There’s a tremendous debate going on in the United States regarding President Obama’s proposed reforms of their health care system. These reforms would provide medical coverage for the 50 million American’s who can’t afford health insurance.
It’s a debate that leaves most Canadians like myself – already beneficiaries of a public health care system – shaking our heads at the outlandish claims by the opponents of the plan. The idea, for example, that it will result in “death panels,” to decide who lives and dies, is ludicrous.
In fact, our system works. It’s not perfect and we may have longer wait times for certain non-emergency treatments. But generally, our system works. Canadians tend to live two to three years longer than Americans, and are as likely to survive major diseases such as heart attacks, breast cancer, cervical cancer and childhood leukemia. Our infant mortality rate is 34% lower than that in the U.S. and in terms of efficiency, our costs are 47 percent less per person.
And Canadians don’t live with the fear of losing our homes if a family member becomes unexpectedly ill. (Want to read about a typical Canadian experience? Check out this blog:
Obama estimates that his public health care plan will cost about $90 billion per year over the next 10 years. In fact, these figures might be low. Economist Len Nichols, of the non-partisan New America Foundation, believes the cost will more realistically come in at $125 billion to $150 billion per year.
But here’s an interesting fact. The latest estimate on the cost of obesity in America is $147 BILLION PER YEAR! That’s right – eliminating obesity and its related illnesses (heart disease, diabetes etc) could provide enough money to fund free health care for every man, woman and child in America!!
And where’s the best place to start the fight against obesity? In schools – organizations that affect almost every child in the country. How? Through mandatory, daily physical education, taught by qualified professionals whose goal is to instill the habit of lifetime fitness and health through activity.
Want to fund a new health care plan while reducing the need for such a plan? Start with physical education!
1. Alec Saunders, the truth about Canadian Health Care, Saunderslog.com
2. Experts Say Cost of Obama Health Care Plan Could Top $1.5 Trillion, California Healthline.com, March 18, 2009.
3. Pat Wechsler, Canadian Health Care, Even With Queues, Best U.S. (Update 1). Bloomberg.com, 9/18/09.
4. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/index.html
5. The Cost of Health Care in Canada, 2004, Canadian Institute for Health.
Dick Moss, Editor, PE Update.com
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[tags]physical education,Obama's health care plan,obesity,health care costs