February 14, 2006
Wanted: Your Input on Healthcare in Southern California
The week of March 6-10, 89.3 KPCC will feature special programming on the state of health care in Southern California. Before we start, we want to hear from YOU.
> What is your best health habit?
> What's your worst?
> What health issues do you see being ignored by the health care system in YOUR community?
Your input is crucial to helping us provide you with in-depth news coverage that reflects your daily life in the Southland. We may even feature your comment on the air!
Posted by webmaster at 4:11 PM
My best health habit is not to go to the doctor! The strain on our finances saves strain on my heart!
Seriously, the biggest health problem my family has at the moment is trying to pay $1600 a month to be insured. My husband is a software consultant who had been employed by a firm for 19 years and was one of the unsung heroes who helped prevent catastrophe during the Y2K difficulties. (excuse the bias). He was laid off, however, four years ago, never again to be rehired by that consulting firm. Cobra kicked in for several months and then we were on our own.
At 55 finding a job can be difficult. We sold our home in Minnesota and have been trraveling throughout the country in an RV with my husband finding consultant jobs every 6 months or so. Last September, we left CA for Louisville, KY. After the first week in KY, my husband was in the hospital for a week to discover why he was experiencing all indications of a stroke. The doctors discovered that he has cardio myopathy which was most likely caused by a virus years ago. His heart is extremely weak, we were told, and he was placed on a myriad of medications. Fortunately, the insurance we had paid under the last consulting firm's plan paid the $20,000 for the hospital stay. However, his assignment was completed and it was back to California for a new placement.
This time, the new consulting firm does not offer inclusion in their plan, and we have been left with only one option - convert to an independent policy with the company who insured him previously. That cost is $1600 a month. We have no idea what will happen next. This is the only company, we've been told, that will insure us since he has a pre-existing condition. We just go month to month and hope for something to change!
Meanwhile, I, myself, try to never go to the doctor; I'm 61 years old and haven't been to one in several years (the deductible would be more than we can budget for). I use a great deal of "positive thinking," and when I do happen to develop some condition, I wait for it to disappear or read about nutritional foods that are researched to alliviate the condition. Luckily, my mother dabbled in Christian Science beliefs and I use this belief in the body's ability to heal itself to a great extent to cure what ails me! However, conditions like conjunctivitis or broken bones are pretty difficult to "think away."
Thank you for this program and all of kpcc's excellent scheduling.
Posted by: Billie Kelpin-Olmon on February 15, 2006 4:03 PM
My best health habit is washing my hands throughout the day and using antibacterial hand gel when necessary.
I also exercise regularly, try to drink 8 glasses of water a day, stay away from fast food, and only eat out occassionally at established restaurants.
ALL of my health issues are ignored by this health system. Besides basic precautions to keep from getting colds, I cross my fingers and hope that whatever diseases/illnesses I may have don't become fully developed or serious until after I finish law school and get a job that will offer me health insurance.
I have not have a medical check-up since I came back from serving in the Peace Corps. I had better care in a developing country.
It is disgusting that this administration will spend billions of dollars to create and maintain dynasties of wealthy corporations and families by providing them with contracts and tax cuts, but shamelessly refuses to fund healthcare, which should be a basic right.
I am back in school and don't wish to increase my school debt with another bill--medical insurance. Many of my fellow classmates are without health insurance as well.
Within my community the major health crisis I notice is the lack of space to stay or attempt to become healthy. The school tracks are kept open sporadically. If you want to jog at the school track by my house on a regular basis, you will have to jump the fence on occasion. It seems as though the less economic means a community has, the more it costs to exercise--an indoor gymnasium may be the only place around that is designed to allow people to exercise. However, people who live in more affluent areas of Los Angeles County are surrounded by walking trails. My community desperately needs a place where families can exercise in a safe setting.
Posted by: Monica D. on February 16, 2006 9:10 PM
At 76 I still walk as much as possible. My major concern for the health care is the system itself. If you will talk to an actuary that is not locked into a clients position you will find that the system works when the risk is spread. For example, when windstorm was sold only in areas where the wind was great the cost was hugh for the sustomer. When they added to windstorm cost to everyones policy the coast was very small. When everone shares in the cost the cost is small. When health care cost is provided for all with no exceptions for the healthy and rich to select out the coast is marginal. The cost for the new drug plan D will become great because the users will try to select against the plan and the companies will try to select against the customer. If all were provided the same coverage (the young and the old and the sick and the healthy and the rural and the city) the cost would be small.
Even the system can reinsure the excess should it occur.
Posted by: John E. (Jack) McCue on February 18, 2006 8:10 PM
I am a 23 year old male. The cost of health care is just getting silly and out of hand. Right now i have a very serious chronic cough however can not afford to go to the doctors. I have not visited a doctor in the last 7 years for any reason. When i get very sick, i go to work and try my best to make it through to the day. There really is no compassion in this a democratic socity where the rich get ricker and the poor get the bills.
too much talk and no action.
Posted by: Rob on February 23, 2006 1:05 PM
I believe there are several un-addressed health needs in our nation and our state. 1. Access to affordable healthcare for the uninsured or under-insured is sorely missing. 2. The ability to address mental health needs with government funding of programs decreasing is leaving this vulnerable population without adequate resources. 3. The managed care arena is a labrynth for patients to traverse--if one doesn't have a healthcare background, the confusing process of authorizations, requirements for diagnostic testing and timing of follow-up makes it nearly impossible for patients to advocate for their own health care needs.
Posted by: Mary Lynne Knighten on February 24, 2006 10:01 PM
A reality in California 2006: If you cannot write a check for 10,000 to 50.000 dollars at the time of admission and you suffer from a chemical dependency problem, you are not likely to be cared for. Insurance companies in joint ventures with large corporations have abolished chemical dependency benefits to a bare minimum utilizing the "medical necessity" criteria to abolish residential rehabilitation benefits. When outpatient services are authorized, they may pay for 5-15 outpatient hours of services.
Posted by: George Varela on February 27, 2006 9:33 AM
My best health habit is swimming regularly. Prior to 18 months ago, I had not swam for 25 years (I'm 41.) It was hard at first to re-learn, but in a matter of a few months, I lost two inches off my waist and about 10 pounds. I also feel better than I ever have in my life.
My worst health habit is my cheese habit. I try low-fat cheeses from time to time, but it's just not the same. So, instead of quitting cheese altogether, I simply try to eat a modest amount.
I think the worst health problem facing not only my community but also our nation is the precipitous drop in employer-provided health benefits. When people have to choose between paying their rent and food bills versus health insurance, they are forced to choose the former. Which leads to postponing or entirely avoiding a visit to the doctor until something drastic occurs. I think the state and federal governments need to provide more incentive for healthy employees.
Posted by: Dan Vela on February 28, 2006 4:58 PM
My best health habit is to find the humor in daily living.
I tell as many jokes as I can!
My bad habit... I still smoke 3 cigarettes a day!
Traffic in LA is slowly killing us all.
We need a system like London that gives the public real alternatives to driving!
Thanks for motivating us...A big fan of public radio....Rudy
Posted by: Rudy Paige on March 1, 2006 10:34 AM
My best health habit is dragging myself out of bed at 5:20 am 5-6x's a week to row crew in the Marina with a bunch of other crazy morning people. I never thought I could maintain this kind of routine, especially through the cold, dark winter but having a team that depends on you makes your decision for you.
Rowing has affected all other areas of my life: I eat better, I go to bed earlier, I don't drink (well, maybe after a race!) and I'm less stressed. I'm more effective at work, too, because who wouldn't be awake, alive and rarin' to go after standing in frigid water and then having an intense strength and cardio workout for an hour before anyone else is even up?
My worst health habit is SUGAR. I can't get enough of it. I took off 25 lbs a year ago by eating healthy and lot's of exercise. As soon as I took the weight off I started eating sugar again. I haven't gained any weight back (I just row more) but I know I can't keep this up forever!
Posted by: Tamara on March 1, 2006 10:45 AM
If you look on the American Lung Association web site you see that the LA area has the worse air quality in the US. There is data breaking down just how bad it is and a write up, complete with references to scientific papers, about what all this pollution is doing to us. I'd like to see schools, individuals and communities face this reality and search for solutions and protective measures in the mean time. There needs to be constant reminding of the reality so it stays a priority until it is controlled. I'd also like to see other epidemiological data concerning the type and rate of illnesses our citizens are contracting. I am particularly interested in the illnessesses happening to healthy people who practice all the right habits (good nutrician, exercise, health care...).
Thank you for your help with this matter.
Posted by: Anonymous on March 1, 2006 10:56 AM
Me again, again please don't post my name.
I think I should be even more specific than my prior posting. We live around the corner from KPCC and my children go to school blocks away. My youngest child recently acquired aplastic anemia probably triggered by toxins in the environment. She is being treated at City of Hope. This experience has put me in touch with people in the immediate community who have contracted unusual cancers at unusually young ages (both children and adults). When I speak with them about where they think these came from they all have very specific ideas related to specific toxic sources in our area. I have been told that there is a Super Fund site (look up on EPA site) where the Tom Sawyer Camp for children is and that the class action suit against them had a sealed verdict. I have told about LaCanada's excessive rate of cancers in general. Another site is SEER.org which tracks cancer data.
I have also met a young woman at City of Hope from Norco (her story has been published in their local paper) who is the second cheerleader and third high school student to contract Leukemia from her school. Her family has concerns tracked to dumping from the former Wiley Labs.
The American Lung Association web site discusses the acute risk for people within 2 miles of a freeway as many of our schools are.
Thank you for helping bring these issues to the light of day, hopefully with more people working on this we can help our kids and ourselves.
Posted by: Anonymous on March 1, 2006 11:21 AM
My best healthcare habit is jogging 2 1/2 miles every morning before work. It helps me deal with stress and is helping--slowly--to take some additional weight off.
My worst healthcare habit is internalizing stress at work and working too many hours.
My biggest health problem is infertility. I am 40-years-old, and I want very much to have a child of my own. It is very difficult to navigate the fertility healthcare system with most expenses off insurance. Also, data on fertility treatment outcomes are difficult to compare because of the vast differences in the patient health characteristics.
Posted by: Shawn MacDuff on March 1, 2006 11:23 AM
My best health habit is Rock Climbing! I teach it on the side of my primary job so it keeps me in shape while having fun. My worst health habit is cheese. Who doesn't love it?
I am currently frustrated with our healthcare system. I am 3 months pregnant and my husband is in his second year of Medical School. I will have to continue to work after the baby is born because his Medical School does not offer health care for his wife or any of his children. If I quit my job to raise the kids, private health insurance would be very expensive and impossible to pay for with no income from either one of us. We can't qualify for a subsidized loan while he is in school since we bought a house with the help of our families. I still can't believe that he's in Med. School and we can't get health insurance for our family, what is this teaching the doctors of tomorrow? I have no choice about staying home or going to work now.
Posted by: Monique on March 1, 2006 2:30 PM
I am a family physician, currently practicing in a large community clinic (Clinica Monsenor Oscar A Romero) in downtown LA. I have cared for underserved populations for 19 years, in Ventura County and Los Angeles County. Here are some of my concerns:
1. LA Safety Net: lack of information sharing by between LA CO USC and PPP providers. This problem can be addressed with minimal budget impact, but it requires a strong administrative commitment. I cannot obtain any clinical information, even on patients who I have referred for services, without a minium of a 3 week delay (often the information never is provided).
2. Lack of access to basic diagnostic evaluation: it is difficult to provide comprehensive primary care services when the wait for an echocardiogram, CT or MRI, cardiac stress study, pulmonary function study, etc. is often 6-9 months. Many patients could be cared for without any specialty consultation and with very few ER visits if this issue could be addressed, particularly for PPP providers.
3. Specialty Consultations: the critical need now is Rheumatolgy. LA CO USC is closed to new patients. It is not reasonable to ask primary care physicians to manage complex rheumatological diseases without the benefit of a consultation. Many of us can manage these diseases effectively if we can obtain at least one initial consultation prior to commiting a patient to therapies which have considerable risks but potentially tremendous clinical benefit. The current toll in human suffering and disability (including progression to permanant disability) is unacceptable.
Posted by: Brian Prestwich, MD on March 2, 2006 6:09 AM
My best health habit is to run four or five times a week. My worst is eating too many sugary foods.
Posted by: TC on March 2, 2006 7:56 AM
Best Health Habit: I floss every day. I rarely eat junk food and I try to eat five servings of fresh fruits and vegetables daily. I was raised by an early (l950s) health food fanatic but closet junk food junkie who didn't allow soft drinks or candy in the house. I guess the good habits stuck with me.
Worst Health Habit: I slump. I don't get enough exercise. I've had multiple knee injuries and surgeries and now that I have no cartilage left in my left kneecap, I find getting cardio exercise very problematic. I also watch television too much. More than one hour a day is too much for me because I have a problem tracking. I'm addicted to watching, and I really need to stop watching television and movies altogether. The headaches I have--untreatable with anything but closing my eyes--are my most painful, debilitating problem.
Neglected Health Issue: I'm the daughter of a 93-year-old female who's had two heart attacks. Through caring for my mother, I've become aware of simple medication issues that can lead to death and the lack of interest in treating the super-elderly within the medical system, especially among younger doctors.
Potassium: I'd like to see an article on the dangers of over-dose or lack of potassium. As I recall Terry Schiavo went into a coma due to an extreme potassium deficiency following a bullemic episode. My mother was prescribed Lasix, a water pill, and a potassium pill to replenish lost potassium. Her doctor never asked about her diet, whether she was already eating food high in potassium. She should just take the pill. She asked to reduce her Lasix to half a pill. I asked whether she should reduce her potassium accordingly. Doctor said, "No, it wasn't necessary." Six months later, my mother had to fast before a cataract surgery. She had a pre-op appointment with a nurse who hurriedly and in a rather bored manner took down her medications. The day after my mother's surgery, she became extremely weak and her skin became cold and clammy. Luckily, we were at the hospital for a post-op appointment, and I was able to quickly take my mother to the Emergency Room. The Emergency Room staff are excellent. Within 30 minutes, I was told that my mother's heart rate was extremely low due to potassium overload and that an I.V. push with insulin and glucose would immediately suck the excess potassium out of her system. Great. But I thought what if I hadn't asked my mother if she wanted to go to the Emergency Room right then. Why hadn't the pre-op nurse known to ask questions about Lasix and potassium that went beyond what are you taking. Why couldn't--really, why shoudn't --I be told about possible complications, what to look for, what cold body temperature could mean in a woman on potassium supplements and dehydrated for surgery. A more thorough pre-op questioning, geared to the elderly and those on heart meds could have prevented my mother's near death condition and, also, saved the hospital the $2,000 to $4,000 cost of my mother's one day stay in the E.R. and holding ward. Also, I later asked my mother's personal physician if he had a diet sheet for foods high in potassium. He had never offered her such a sheet earlier. "Oh, yes, of course." There they were--all my mother's favorite foods--high in potassium. She was on overload the day she started on the potassium pill. I'd also like to hear about the efficacy of offering a pill in place of encouraging consumption of foods rich in potassium or whatever mineral is lacking in someone's system. Aren't naturally occurring vitamins always easier to digest and absorb? I know I sound as though I am going on and on, and yet I know of at least three deaths or near-deaths attributed to potassium deficiency or over-load. This should be so simple.
I have a much broader complaint about medical care for the super-elderly. Doctors and the system don't want to take the time to consider how to treat the elderly; they assume that their patients over 88 or 90 are going to die in a few months and so why bother. My mother's very young cardiology told me after her second heart attack, five years ago, that she would live no more than a year, guaranteed. He used that language. I swear he said. "In six months to a year, not much more than a year, guaranteed, you'll walk into your mother's house and find her dead." On subsequent visits, my mother asked this young whipper-snapper when she could stop taking some of the 7 heart medications he had prescribed for her. He smiled condescendingly and looked at me as if to say, "Doesn't your mother know she's a dead woman." Now, 5 years later, my mother's been hospitalized again with a low heart rate due to Digoxin overload and too many heart meds whose function is to the lower the heart rate and ease the strain on the heart. Again, my question, my request is that doctors be willing to work with their patients earlier to manage medication and lower dosages. The high does of heart meds also made my mother weak and dizzy. Doctors often are so rigid and so unconcerned with quality of life issues. They have a "my way or the highway approach." Five years later, I tried to get a new cardiologist for my mother at her HMO but failed. The whipper-snapper is now five years older, too, and has just a little gray hair. Faced with the living proof that his earlier prediction was wrong ( I don't think he would ever acknowledge that his prediction was cruel), he has agreed to work just a little with my mother on giving her the minimum medication to keep her heart rate low but not too low. I still do not think that he has even begun to consider that there should be different standards for judging the appropriateness of large dosages or numbers of medications for super-elderly patients who are tiny (l05-l20 lbs), female, not male, and whose kidneys are not functioning as well as they did when they were only 50 or 60 years old.
I would like to see studies, if they exist, of treatment trials of heart medications on the super-elderly, especially female patients. I want to know all I should have known five years ago about heart treatments and heart tissue regeneration even in the elderly. I feel guilty that I did support my mother's demand to go off some or all of her heart meds about l l/2 years ago. I sided with her doctors then. I should say, though, that my mother is truly one of a kind. She is a German refugee (officially one-quarter Jewish according to the Third Reich) who was the only X-ray technician to serve on the Loyalist Side in the Spainish Civil War in 1936-1938. She x-rayed Hemingway. She is determined to live forever and, so far, she is succeeding.
Posted by: Jessica Hill on March 2, 2006 9:06 AM
I am a financial planner who focuses on the Middle Class market. For that clientele -- and I am right there with them -- I feel the most important issue is the cost of health insurance, particularly for my clients who are not covered by a good plan at work.
People who retire early -- before age 65 -- don't realize the cost of either continuing their coverage under COBRA or buying their own coverage (IF they qualify!). Then once retired, they're still facing the costs of Medicare Part D and a Supplemental plan.
Unfortunately, not only is the initial cost of medical insurance high, but it's rising at a 10%+ annual rate. There are just not that many expenses in a person's budget that can increase at that rate and remain affordable.
Imagine it: $1,200 or more a month to insure a couple in their mid-50s, rising at 10% or more a year. At that rate the premium will double every 7 years -- that's plain unaffordable.
Please don't post my name.
Posted by: DF on March 3, 2006 6:41 PM
My best health tip is to take in daily dosis of fish oil and flaxseed oil (in softgels), with plenty of water. I think we need more of the good fatty acids in our diet!!!
Posted by: Meredith Brown on March 4, 2006 2:34 PM
My best health habit is working out and excercizing regularly.
I also eat as much whole food as possible, processed food is a death wish.
My worst habit is the amount of sugar I eat. I bake much cookies and cake with much butter and sugar; but, again, real sugar and butter is better than corn syrups and artificial fats.
This is a nationwide issue, but why doesn't the US have a single payer health care system? It is foolish to spend 50 cents of each to privately administer healthcare when it could be done in the puvblic sphere for les than 10 cents of every dollar.
Having to have a full-time job with a company willing to add benefits is fooish when we could all have insurance coverage for a pittance.
Posted by: AdmNaismith on March 4, 2006 4:14 PM
my best health habit is daily yoga for 15+ years. my worst health habit is an incredibly poor sleep pattern over a period of about 7 years. as an independent worker, i've been remiss about making and keeping a regular nightly sleeping regimen. and... as an independent worker, i-- like many other independent artists-- have inadequate health insurance coverage. i believe this is the biggest, most pervasive health problem for many or most of us.
Posted by: Solar Star on March 4, 2006 10:03 PM
I haven't had health insurance for 4 years it terrifies me. I have a preexisting arthritic condition which red-tagged me for insurers. Recently I broke my foot and had to treat it myself. I am a 34-year-old who runs 4 miles a day and practices yoga but only qualifies for $350/month California health insurance for the uninsurable. While I have been going to $10K-semester grad school, and previously workiing part-time it's either eat or pay health insurance. There has to be something done about this.
Posted by: Pablo S. Gonsalves on March 4, 2006 10:48 PM
My best health habit is one that began about 20 years ago. I walk. After trying many different forms of exercise I hit upon walking an hour or more and walking as fast as I could walk. Though I'm now 61 years old I've managed to maintain my weight around 165 pounds. (I'm about 6ft 1 inch tall).
My worst health habit: I eat. A life-long problem is that I'm a good cook and I love to eat. It is a constant battle to keep my food intake down.
My diet book, if I wrote one, would consist of four words: Eat less, exercise more.
I would like to see a law passed that says elected officials can provide for themselves no better health care then they provide for their constituents.
Rich Varenchik, Valencia
Posted by: Richard Varenchik on March 5, 2006 8:17 AM
My worse heath habits- cafť mochas (and in my Silver Lake neighborhood, I am less than a block from 3 coffee houses), finding reasons not to work out, stress and lack of sleep
My best health habits- eating carrots, grapes, strawberries and tomatoes everyday and drinking about 80 oz. of water a day, lots of walking as part of my everyday activates and black coffee.
Health issues do you see being ignored in my community: the automobile (Cars, trucks, motorcycles and such)
1. the pollution caused by autos
2. The personal, public and private resources that go into having, storing and driving autos.
a. Public- Land that could go to parks is used for parking lots, streets are widened and sidewalks are made narrow to accommodate auto traffic at the expense of pedestrians and other forms of transpiration (bikes, skateboards, ECT.)
b. Personal- money used to buy (especially in the sub-cultures that value high end cars), store, insure and run an auto take up a substantial part of most households. Most people spend so much time stuck in traffic that it is affecting their and their families way of live
c. Private- Businesses go out of business when customers canít find a place to park. Employers feel obligated to offer free parking to employees in ordered to get the best work force (I bet more companies offer free parking than fully paid family health benefits). Parking causes friction in communities- a case study- my Silver Lake community- an older community with very little parking (but on Sunset BL, so great buss service and with wide sidewalks and shopes with great window displays so it is very walk able). Most of the residents park on the residential streets. The commercial street (Sunset BL) does not have enough parking spaces for all the businesses customers and employees. And due to one hour parking limits on sunset, employees need to park on residential streets. When a customer canít find a space on Sunset, they park on a residential street. On one street, it got so bad that the residents petitioned for restrictive parking. Now the business are requesting meters is a fales belief that that will help (as far as community health and overuse of cars, it will only make it worse). Resident are now up in arms, if meters go in all the residents will demand (and get) restrictive parking. A community at war, all because of parking!!!
3. Last and most centrally not least- the autos contribution to so many residents of Los Angeles being overweight and in bad health. People, walk the 4 blocks to your kids school, go to a neighborhood store and pay maybe 15% more for something instead of driving 40 miles to the Wal-mart, ride a bike (and learn more about were you live) for a work-out instead of driving to the guy.
Thanks for letting me have my say. I will get of the soapbox now.
Dorit in Silver Lake
Posted by: Dorit on March 5, 2006 10:54 AM
What is my best health habit.
My best health habit is limiting the amount of refined and or processed foods I eat. When I go through a period of eating a good amount of food in this category I feel sluggish, get PMS symptoms, catch colds, get the flu and gain weight. If I stay with lots of vegetables, whole grain breads, lean meats, beans and some fruit I feel great and stay well.
My worst health habit.
Eating out in restaurants more than once or twice a week.
My business makes it necessary to take clients out to eat so I'm eating foods that I'm not sure what is used to prepare them. When I go a week of eating out 4 to 5 times I feel "crappy" and start gaining weight even if I make good choices and stay away from the bread basket and fatty foods.
I don't think the food industry is intentually trying to cause harm I just feel the cumulative effect of refining food and adding ingredients to make things "taste better" is catching up with us. Our bodies have not had time to genetically evolve to handle the huge influx of refined carbohydrates, massive amounts of salt and foods with no fiber. All of these things add up to breaking down our health.
Issues the community is ignoring.
Allowing the pharmaceutical industry to advertise prescription drugs. These drugs need to be reviewed by doctors and accessed as to their use. We as laymen should not be making those choices. Also we need to use diet and exercise to handle most medical problems not drugs.
Posted by: Emily Lobato on March 6, 2006 10:55 AM
My best health habit is not smoking. My worst health habit is not exercising.
The problem in my community is mental illness driven by depression. Also lack of housing for the homeless.
Posted by: Camille on March 6, 2006 11:18 AM
My best health habit is taking regular vitamin/mineral supplements and knowledge of herbs for healing. My worst habit is that I don't get enough exercise. I blame this on untreated asthma beginning in junior high, which made all strenuous exercise extremely unpleasant. (This was in the days when they still offered PE.)
I notice you plan to discuss dental health as well, and I have a serious complaint about the way dental insurance is handled. From what I've been told, the _only_ way to get dental insurance is through your employer. I tried a dental discount card, but it was rejected by the dentist I went to. When I asked why they were listed if they didn't accept the card, they said that the company listing them had refused to remove them from the listing. So there are companies taking advantage of people's inability to get insurance. It's a blatant rip-off!!!
I am lucky that I get HMO coverage through my employer, but I'm very unhappy that my doctor is so far from my work and not open evenings or weekends, since I take the bus, it means a day off when I need to see him. And I'm also not happy that there aren't any alternative doctors I can replace him with closer to home. I usually use one of the medical centers that operate in lieu of emergency care for anything other than a physical because the hours are better and the place is more conveniently located to work and home. And lastly, it really irritates me when I ask him a question and he refers me to a specialist. Don't they understand that this requires more delay, more money out of pocket, lost hours of work, and I'd be happy if he just said "I don't know. Would you like to see a specialist to find out?"
Posted by: Therese on March 6, 2006 7:39 PM
My best habits - exercise daily (bicyle, tennis, walking) in the morning so it's done without having to think about it. Eating well - lots of fresh vegetables and some fruit - and trying to keep the fat and calories low; sleeping regularly. And trying to feel content most of the time.
Worst- it's so hard not to eat all of the cheese I love! And I still think I should try to make time for more exercise.
The real problem is lack of health insurance for so many people in our wealthy country. We talk to people in France, whose health spending per capita is one of the lowest in the western world, and people seem to be happy with what they have. The insurance companies are a joke here - the percentage of the health dollar spent to prop up insurance companies, whose executives are making megamillions, is almost more than they pay as reimbursement for the actual care. Medicare keeps reducing payments to physicians which certainly doesn't breed an attitude of contentment on their part. Who else has their reimbursement cut back every year? I think that a single payer system has the lowest overhead and the highest participation and would work better than the current melange of care.
Posted by: Patricia on March 8, 2006 1:49 PM
One of the biggest and easiest to solve health issues is poor eating habits of our children. If we just mandate that school lunches follow the new modified food pyramid then we could have children who eat less junk, are more comfortable choosing non-brand-name food, and retain more of their teeth. As it stands now the lunch menus cater to those who are already brand nazis. Our food service sells "Dominos" and "Papa Johns" pizza and advertises them as such so more kids will buy. My kindergartener came home proud to show me what he got at lunch. I said "Oh, a bookmark! And he scolded me, "No, it's a "Doritos Bookmark". To make matters worse, each lunch comes with a desert. The kids have learned that sugar finishes every meal. I can't find one vegetable on our school menu. There are no soups, stews, or osh. There is only fat, sugar and starch. Oh, and those apples are the ones they serve at steak houses that are only good for decoration. Food service personnel should be employed based on what goes into the kids not what goes onto the trays and then into the trash. My kids who like all veggies should be catered to and the picky eaters should be the ones forced to bring lunches, not the other way around.
Posted by: Nia on March 8, 2006 3:20 PM
My best health habit is to minimize the amount of animal products that I consume. Ever since I have become vegetarian- I have noted the lower incidence of my getting ill and my cholesterol is well under control.
My worst health habit is being in love with sweets- esp. cookies and cakes. This of course makes it difficult for me to be lazy. I can't afford to be since I'm very concerned with my weight.
I find that my community is ignoring the fact that the Built Environment does impact our health and influences the social environment that goes along with it. More and more research has shown that the more opportunities that exist for individuals to be physically active and invest in social capital. Social capital is something that shouldn't be ommitted in the discussion about health, since as social animals humans need to feel like they are a part of something bigger than themselves- belong to a community. Therefore the saying that it takes a whole village to raise a child, holds true in this discussion.
The local and federal government cannot downplay the fact that not enough is being done in California with regards to the built environment. In the national picture, California sets the example for environmental reform among other things, but lately we have allowed our legislators to 'drop the ball' on many issues that impact our health (ie. asthma , obesity) which can be prevented.
In addition, the whole fiasco with the South Central Farmers in South Los Angeles is a prime example of the community trying to support itself but the local government not stepping up to the plate and offering its support.
It is about time that we own up to our responsability to continue in the tradition of setting the example at the national scale and begin taking social, politicial, economic, and environmental responsability in ensuring that we preserve what little green spaces are left in our city and create opportunities that will enhance the health and quality of life for all Californians.
Posted by: Sandra Trinidad on March 8, 2006 4:40 PM
I have been diagnosed with Thoracic Outlet Syndrome or TOS, by means of 3-d emri cutting edge technology. I would like to hear a show on this painful and limiting medical condition. I think the public should be made aware of TOS' symptoms, the availability of state of the art diagnostic technologies, and ways the inflicted must cope. I urge kpcc to contact UCLA's Dr. James Collins who help develop the 3-d emri for the brachial plexsus and various skilled physical therapists who can address the diagnosis and non-drug, deep tissue approach to TOS. My concern is that insurance companies dismiss TOS as a mere strain. I am also very concerned about our troops coming home with TOS and as well as the work injured.
Posted by: Stewart Rogers on March 8, 2006 9:12 PM
My best health habit is riding my bike. I commute to work, 3.5 miles each way. Not only does it provide the obvious health benefits, it has also brought me a lot of new "commuter acquaintances." I exchange greetings with two people who wait at a bus stop, a guy who walks a dog, several people who walk in a park, a grounds keeper, two men who work in a parking lot, and a retired gent who walks to breakfast every morning in Westwood.
My worst health habit is probably also riding my bike. Besides commuting, I ride to do errands. So basically I end up riding every day that it doesn't rain and I breathe some pretty good lungsfull of exhaust.
As for the health problem that needs the most attention, I imagine that obesity and dental problems are both up there at the top.
Posted by: Mollie B. on March 9, 2006 1:27 PM