Talk of the fiscal cliff and ObamaCare makes me worry about my overweight friends. I fear it’s only a matter of time before they are blamed for dragging down the economy. Obesity is a huge expense, and unlike other costly health problems, obesity is in plain view.
Today, just over one third of Americans has a Body Mass Index of 30 or more, the obesity range. Per-capita medical spending for those individuals is 150 percent higher than for those who are not obese. The Institute of Medicine and other experts estimate the United States spends between $150 and $190 billion a year on obesity-related problems. Spending is driven by prescription drugs and medical procedures for heart disease, cancers, diabetes, and the other chronic diseases of obesity and by days missed from work and the long-term disability that commonly occurs. When public funds from Medicare and Medicaid pay the bill, everyone is impacted, but even when public funds are not involved, everyone pays higher insurance premiums to cover the cost.
Few of us realize that the U.S. health care reform law of 2010 (ObamaCare) allows employers to charge obese workers 30 to 50 percent more for health insurance if they decline to participate in a qualified wellness program. A growing number of companies have begun to make obese workers enroll in weight loss programs or pay higher insurance premiums. For instance, state workers in Alabama are subjected to at-work weigh-ins and body fat tests. Anyone with a BMI of 35 or more must attempt to lose weight or have $25 automatically deducted from their paychecks. To opt out of the weigh-ins, one can accept the $25 deduction.
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Join The Doctors on November 26 as they speak with Dr. Mike Moreno about the secrets of living a longer and healthier life. Moreno is the author of the popular 17 Day Diet and the more recent book, The 17 Day Plan to Stop Aging, released September 2012.
The Doctors seek to solve the puzzle of living longer, healthier, and happier through simple yet effective practices. In that pursuit they, along with Moreno’s help, present 17 ways to look and feel younger.
Two surprising tips shared in this episode include taking cold showers for health and following the old adage ‘forgive and forget.’
Cold showers help improve blood circulation and keep skin and hair healthy, as well as help to reduce stress and invigorate the senses. Forgiving others and not focusing on past hurts are two practices that have been proven to help lower one’s blood pressure and heart rate.
Moreno’s plan to stop aging follows the same prescription as his 17 Day Diet book, relying on four 17 day cycles to jump start a plan to reverse the effects of aging. The cycles aim to restore, rebuild, refine and renew. His bestselling diet is based on the practice of metabolic confusion where the body is not allowed to settle into a routine and therefore plateau. His plan to stop aging, on the other hand, is a guide to incorporate more good practices into one’s life in order to live as healthfully as possible.
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During Friday night’s campaign debate, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan squared off to discuss the nation’s problems and how their administration will solve them. Between focusing on complicated foreign policy issues, moderator Martha Raddatz asked about the future of health care in America: “Both Medicare and Social Security are going broke and taking a larger share of the budget in the process. Will benefits for Americans under these programs have to change for the programs to survive?”
The debate got very heated as each candidate has completely different views about how Medicare should be funded. Ryan began his answer with a strong statement, “Medicare and Social Security are going bankrupt. These are indisputable facts.” He went on to say how the program has helped his family and how he will honor his promise to keep it funded for future generations. He differs from the Obama administration in that he and Romney want to reform Medicare and take $716 billion currently going to Obamacare and give it back to Medicare. Ryan criticized Obama’s plan to have a board overseeing the health care programs.
Biden shot back by appealing directly to seniors to ask themselves if they have more benefits than before Obama came into office. While avoiding major political gaffes during the debate, Biden delivered clear messages about his views, like when he spoke about Republicans, saying, “Their ideas are old and their ideas are bad, and they eliminate the guarantee of Medicare.”
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In the first presidential debate of the 2012 election, President Obama and former Governor Romney went head-to-head on issues ranging from taxes for the middle class to how much government should be involved in regulating Wall Street. This first debate held high stakes for each candidate, as historically debates can serve to predict who will get ahead in the polls and ultimately become the next president.
The ongoing health care issue was a hot topic during this evening’s debate, its significance underscored as the candidates frequently referenced it to back up their platforms. The issue deeply polarizes voters as they face the critical question of how they’ll pay for routine and emergency medical expenses.
The importance of how Medicare, Medicaid, and the so-called ObamaCare Act will function in the future could not be overstated for the future health of the nation, with Obama saying outright, “I want to talk about Medicare…because that’s the big driver of our deficits right now.”
A frequently-quoted $716 billion was one point of difference between the candidates, and a touchy subject at that. Obama took it from Medicare and transferred the sum to help pay for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, aka ObamaCare, a move he defended during the debate. Romney blasted the president’s decision, saying he would return it to Medicare and give states the ability to make their own decisions concerning health care for their citizens.
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There have been many speculations as to the cause of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia. Currently, there is no cure for the condition and as it progresses it worsens, often causing memory loss, mood swings, aggression and confusion, and eventually leading to death.
Though Alzheimer’s was formerly thought to be a disease of age, a growing body of research now suggests that it may be a metabolic disease – linking it to poor diet. As reported by the Guardian, scientists have even gone so far as to call it type 3 diabetes.
This news is especially concerning as Alzheimer’s currently affects an estimated 35 million people worldwide, and that number is expected to reach 100 million by 2050. Equally alarming are projected growth rates of type 2 diabetes in the U.S. alone, which are also expected to triple in the next several decades.
These speculations are tied to two potential factors: 1) Alzheimer’s causes a lack of natural insulin in the body, or 2) it causes an impairment of the brain’s ability to respond it. Suspicions of the link continue to rise as those who die from Alzheimer’s are often found to have low insulin levels in the brain. This has led researchers to believe that insulin is produced in the brain as well as in the pancreas, explaining why it could play such a crucial role in neuron signaling and cell growth and lifespan, according to Popsci.
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