This post is mainly aimed at Norwegians and countries leading similar healthcare systems. It also questions the future of the health insurance companies and governance.
A background update: In Norway healthcare is free, our tax system covers healthcare for everyone. Only if Norwegians go abroad health insurance is needed.
Dearest Norwegians, isn’t it nice to know that your well earned tax money goes to helping people in need, developing the country and to educate your kids?
Isn’t it nice to know that if something terrible happens to you or your loved ones, you will be taken care of? And isn’t it great to know that if your health strikes, you are insured?
Such a great structure of society, right? Yes, I’m sure you're nodding from within.
All of us can agree upon that Norway has a great way of dealing with health care. I think the citizens of our country are highly privileged and in such luck (thank you oil….)
We also know that our country, or our world for that matter, do not behold an endless fountain of money. Meaning, we can not throw our money at everyone and everywhere. Can we? We need a clear strategy. Don’t we?
You probably think that Norway has that all figured out already?
Well. I'm not so sure if I can entirely agree on that.
I'd like to challenge you a bit. Do you ever think in depth on the whole perspective on the heath care system?
Thousands of people are hit by illness every month and estimated nearly 2 million people check in to hospitals in Norway on a yearly basis. In all of these cases our governments opens its wallet and pay up whatever the cost.
Many diseases appear out of the blue, in example leukemia, birth illnesses, malaria and pneumonia, infections etc. But, most people which is hospitalized or die from illness, are diagnosed with life style diseases like heart and vascular disease, lung cancer, overweight, and respiratory diseases etc.
And believe me, these costs are way from cheap.
So, here comes the golden question, how many of these cases could have been prevented if the people affected had an optimal lifestyle, with healthy habits? And how does this affect you?
What if the people with lung cancer simply never started to smoke? Or the people with hearth and vascular diseases didn't start eating a fatty and salty diet and were exercising on a regular basis? What if the people with diabetes type II stopped overeating on sugar and started to run everyday?
What if the mother didn't drink or smoke through pregnancy so that the kid entered the world in perfect shape, and not accompanied by a kidney disease or something like that.
What if all people stopped eating unhealthy, started to exercise and eat mindful, get enough sleep, and started spending lots of time with loved ones?
(I wonder how much less doctors and nurses and hospitals that would be needed today..)
What if everyone took care of themselves and their own health and their children and parents health? Would we have to pay such high medical bills then?
Has it ever hit you that you pay for the side effects of someones consistent lifestyle choices?
That you pay for the hospitalization of the annoying neighbor that sits outside smoking everyday. Or eventually also for the smoking gang working for your company which you already are hating for how much time they spend smoking outside and not working, and having the offices smell nasty. Or the bothersome uncle who simply weighs way too much and always keeps eating.
Yes, you do pay for the expensive results of someones terrible choice.
You have to pay the medical bill for the smokers diagnosed with lung cancer, you are the one paying for the operation and medicine to people with hearth attack when they could have prevented easily by eating less salty, fatty and sugary foods but the person chose not to.
To me, its a ridiculous irony that we actually pay our taxes so that we can pay for the people choosing to get sick.
Pay up whats needed for the people who has no choice but.. Should really our tax money go to pay for a persons hearth attack or diabetes caused by excessive eating of sugary and fatty foods, like meat, cheese, double lattes and drinking lots alcohol and no exercise or overeating?
Is that really fair? That we pay for the people who actually make themselves sick? How come this is actually allowed, how come politicians let this happen, that we, normal people choosing to live a healthy lifestyle going to work and pay our taxes have to pay for the silly ones? Actually we could pay less taxes if those people just reframed their habits and enjoy a higher salary or the tax money could go to better up the school system, innovation or elderly homes.. Wouldn't that be way more amazing?
What do you think about the future of health care and insurances when you think about all the smart things we will be surrounded with that will tell us the status of our health and how we can prevent it to get worse. Like the toilet, toothbrush, mirror, hairbrush, clothes and everything can keep track on your health. Lots of data will be available to tell you how you treat yourself, and this information could potentially go back to the health insurance company or the government where they actually can say, well, you had the choice and this is definitely self imposed, so in which case we won’t pay for you bad habits. Don't you think this should be the norm? That people actually took responsibility for themselves?
To me, this sounds fair.
It might also motivate the people who is not at all motivated by just “having a high quality” life as long as possible. Meaning their motivation is money, and time. They have to take responsibility for their own life, the government can't be doing that no more after my opinion. To me its like throwing a lot of trash at the floor and just expecting someone to go clean up, and in which case we Norwegians have someone coming to clean up, hired by the government, so we dont have to care about the mess we make. We can make as much as we really want to.
We do not live in an ego world, our society are built up on trust and relying on each other, we have to stick together and serve each other to make it go round, so, how come so many of us still today just think about ourselves?
I do not mean that I'm for all full detailed surveillance but to some point I'm pro keeping track on peoples health to check if they actually had themselves get ill or if it could have been prevented.
What do you think about this, how should this be solved, and.. is it a problem at all, do you think? Do you gladly go to work to pay these peoples bills? Or perhaps you lead a health insurance company, are you willing to pay up for these cases forever, when we have the tools to check if the person chose to let it happen?
But there is also another level to this, how about the people who simply are uneducated and not curious about figuring out that what they actually put in their body mirrors their health? Whos responsibility should that be, since its the governments responsibility giving us education? And how about the people with no discipline, going through the store and closest to the cashier they find all these chocolates and cookies.. why didn't the government make a law where this is not allowed since they have to pay for the medical bill of people with no discipline. And why do they allow smoking at all? And allow the stores and big companies to sell and make such sugary and salty foods? Its so much mess here which the government should be able to fix, yes, simply put their foot down.
What is your thoughts?