Fair warning: If you don’t want to hear another one of my rants about wellness, you might wanna ship this week’s blog right now.
A new international study of health care effectiveness found, among other things, that South Koreans, on average, live longer than Americans (and at least 30 other countries), despite spending very little on health care costs as a percentage of gross domestic product.
But that spending appears to be an arbitrary barometer. In fact, the thrust of the study appears to dispel the conventional wisdom of getting what you pay for – at least when it comes to health care spending.
No, what makes the (life changing?) difference is simple clean living, as clichéd as it sounds. Overall, countries with lower obesity, smoking and drinking rates enjoyed longer life spans regardless of health care funding mechanisms or amounts.
Japan – ranked as the most efficient health care system in the world – boasted much higher life expectancy rates built on obesity rates hovering around 3.8 percent. This compared to the staggering 34 percent obesity rate here in the States.
But reform, for all its bells, mandates and whistles, includes nothing that address wellness as part of a comprehensive effort to address utilization rates by simply making smarter health care decisions. Maybe it’s because, as a nation, we still don’t consider diets or addictions part of a greater health care equation.
And maybe, until we do, we’re going to keep spending more to keep getting less.