Personal Responsibility and Healthcare

Although clinical preventive health is equally important to personal health, just 14 percent of voters identified physicals and screenings as the most important preventive healthcare practice. “We know that preventive services such as mammograms, colonoscopies and simple dental exams are vital tools in the fight against serious disease,” Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) recently stated. “We now have to act on this knowledge; procrastination costs lives and fuels the high cost of healthcare.”

If Congress wants to help the issue, they need to shift themes in the ongoing debate. Recently, prominent healthcare professionals and senior congressional staff from both sides of the aisle were brought together to discuss current preventive health legislation. The Politics of Prevention forum hosted folks such as renowned chronic disease expert Dr. Ken Thorpe, along with a bipartisan, pioneering group of senators and House members leading the charge on this effort. Those are the steps Washington should now be taking to build the bridges for action.

Surely the government can help by producing incentives and information about preventive healthcare, but Americans also need to stop relying solely on Uncle Sam to improve their health — it’s time for citizens to do their part as well.

You can bet that no one voluntarily wants to pay more taxes, but everyone wants to create a healthier America. And taking the personal and clinical initiatives to avoid disease altogether can satisfy both wants. The right discussion has finally begun on the Hill. But even if proper congressional action is taken, Americans need to take some of their own personal responsibility to see it through.


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