a. Healthcare costs will bankrupt America. The cost of the healthcare stranglehold on the economy threatens to drain our entrepreneurial will and our economic leadership in the world. Bottom Line: We don’t have the money to sustain fat, unhealthy, smoking, excessive drinking Americans. Unfit Americans will bankrupt us.
b. The scope of the issue: We spend $2.5 trillion on healthcare, and the GDP of the entire countries of India and Russia are each only $1.5 trillion! And if that’s not bad enough, the estimates in 10 years are that healthcare in America will hit $4.5 trillion. This effect is greater by far than any subprime loan scandals, than the cost of higher education, than the wars in Afghanistan or Iraq, than any gas crisis—healthcare is the BIG Kahuna of the economy mess we’re in today.
c. Roughly 70% of the $2.5 trillion healthcare tab is because of obesity. Fat people get sick and cost a bunch. Last-year-of-life costs run roughly 25% of all Medicare/Medicaid expenses. And studied estimates are that roughly 1/3 of all healthcare expenditures are wasteful. Finally, according to the author, hospitals are among the unsafest places in the world. While we lost 6,000 troops in Iraq and Afghanistan in the past 8 years, hospitals lost 800,000 patients and injured 8 million others!
d. Wellbeing: Unless our attitudes about obesity (roughly 2/3 of the country), healthcare, and wellbeing change, we’re doomed to escalating, bankrupting costs. And behavioral economics can work to cure the issue. When people don’t get hired based on their poor health, or their risks because of obesity, things will start to change. Gallup has looked at other factors for wellbeing such as: Career Wellbeing—doing something you love every day; Social Wellbeing—having strong, interpersonal relationships in your life; Financial Wellbeing—being in charge of your financial life; Physical Wellbeing—being in good health; Community Wellbeing—your engagement with the town/area in which you live.