If you really think about it, what we consider “healthcare” in the United States is only used when we are sick. It’s really “sick care”. And that’s okay as long as we understand that we are not going to be healthy by relying on that system.
In fact, there is no true “healthcare” system here. When it comes to actual health, we are all self-insured: on our own to navigate the resources available and on the hook to pay for it ourselves. Most people have a very difficult time with this part of the equation–citing that they don’t have the money to pay for the things that they know will help them be healthier. It’s a strange thing because you either pay now or pay later (when you’re sick) except that culturally, we don’t pay for prevention. We are most willing to pay when we are suffering. When I attended a training with Dr. Mark Hyman, he called it NEP Syndrome… “Not Enough Pain” to do the things that were work or cost money in the name of prevention.
Why is this? Why have we become a nation of people happy to leave well enough alone until it’s a crisis? And really, not just in health–but we see it in finances and parenting and other places. Many times this only changes if the people around us are changing and we’re willing to do things with the group (even if they’re not a great fit for us individually). Doing what everyone else does feels safe because at least if something goes wrong, you’re all in it together.
It takes a lot of courage to step outside of the mainstream when the mainstream is not working for you. Leaving the path that everyone around you is on to break out into the new and/or unknown requires some strength, and some determination to make sure that you’re leaving no stone unturned on the journey to getting better.
Doing so shows that you know that you (or your children) are worth better than what you are getting. It means that you trust that you will find a way to figure out if these new ideas are worthwhile and maybe better than what you see before you now. It’s an effort because you are following a path you’ve never seen and have to do a touch more work along the way to blaze the trail.
But it is an exercise in the ultimate love for yourself (and your family).
And it is the greatest change we can make in the state of “healthcare”.