Land of the free? That’s so last season.

It is a momentous day in history when the United States government deems it constitutional for the government to require each and every citizen to buy something. I know the economy is in trouble and stimulating it with purchases is considered a plausible way to give it a a boost, but mandating a purchase is something I had hoped to never see in the United States.

I am of course speaking of the health care overhaul plan widely known as Obamacare.

As I see it, there are many problems with Obamacare. Mandating it is one. As a U.S. citizen, I don’t want to be the victim of “parentalism.”

One of the biggest problems I see with Obamacare, however, is that it does not solve the overall problem. A disgustingly expensive healthcare mandate system as a way to solve our health problems is akin to putting a billion dollar bandage on a brain tumor. It doesn’t fix anything.

My personal philosophy is largely based in simplicity. Grow a garden. Eat food with ingredients you understand from a source you understand. Read books. Seek pure joy. Wear handmade moccasins. Play outside. The solution to the many epidemics troubling the United States is really quite simple: take better care of yourself.

It is true without question that no matter how healthy a lifestyle a person leads, he or she will get sick eventually. Maybe just a cold, maybe something more severe. There are many factors to long term health. However, there is a lot to be said about personal responsibility for health.

We live in a culture where we want to spend zero thought and hardly any money on what we put into our bodies. What we eat should be a subject that takes up a lot of brain power and energy. Instead we spend our days thinking about celebrities, clothing, gossip. We spend money on gadgets we want but don’t necessarily need. To a large degree we will spend our money and thoughts on almost anything before what we use to fuel our bodies.

And so, we are left consuming cheap but empty calories that increase blood pressure, our risk for diabetes and obesity, and many other preventable diseases. We make the choice to eat cheap and unhealthy food, and want our government to spend billions of dollars on fixing our health.

Do you see the problem?

We shed the responsibility of making healthy choices but also want to make someone else to pay for the consequences of our choices.

Meanwhile, the healthcare mandate does not cover alternative health services. I have been going to see a nutritionist for years. And while she can’t fix everything she has helped me more than any other healthcare professional (most of the others don’t help at all). So, as a citizen who chooses alternative healthcare means because my experiences with traditional healthcare show that they aren’t very affective (they are big advocates of the bandage system mentioned above), I will still be required to pay for health insurance.

To provide concise insight into how typical healthcare professionals work, here’s an anecdote:

I went into the doctor one winter’s day with a heinous sore throat, which I had assumed was strep throat given I had had it before and it felt the same. The doctor did the test, concluded it was not streptococcus but didn’t know what it was. He gave me a pill. He didn’t know what I had but gave me a pill anyway. How can a doctor properly prescribe medication if he doesn’t know the disease for which he is prescribing? Why should I be forced to pay for insurance that covers such practices? It is pointless!

I agree that there are many people who really need medical care and can’t afford it. One should not have to make the choice between homelessness and medical care. But I have no doubt that there is another way to assist people in such a situation besides to force an entire population to have health insurance.

There is also the matter of insurance abuse. Insurance should be used for emergencies, health maintenance, and various pricey scenarios like a needed surgery, etc. We tend to want insurance to cover everything instead of budgeting and keeping good health habits. I have one prescription and never use insurance to pay for it. I budget it into my monthly expenses along with my food and other means used to maintain health. It comes out just fine.

There really are so many problems I don’t know how to proceed.

We think buying cheap food is better for the budget. But it’s really a dollar now, thousands later system. Spend few dollars on low quality food now, spend thousands on medical care later for preventable diseases.

And let’s not forget the sheer contrariness of our governing body. The health of Americans is a common subject in congress. They discuss healthcare overhauls, how to get kids to exercise more and eat healthy food. All kinds of things. And yet, at they same time the government subsidizes the production of high fructose corn syrup, a highly addictive sweetener that can be found in an alarming number of processed foods. Furthermore, government funded school lunches serve high calorie, high fat, low nutrient food. And this is the government we trust to provide quality healthcare overhauls.

How did America get here? We went from declaring our Independence from an interfering government fraught with taxation without representation to a country begging our government to tax us and force us to bow to that entity’s well-meaning disasters in only a few hundred years. We are becoming very dependent on our government for everything.

One of my favorite Thomas Jefferson quotations is, “That government is best which governs least.”

Have our ideals drifted so far?

It is really quite simple: make a budget including an emergency fund, put health above price (there is a high cost to low-priced food), and get moving and thinking. That’s it.

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