The whole country watches today as the Supreme Court listens to arguments and debates the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Their decision will have massive political and business implications for many years to come, but the health impact for families living in our community, if any, is hard to determine. Many experts believe the Affordable Care Act, whether constitutional or not, does not adequately address the core issues of the health crisis facing our country. Even more disturbing however is the severe lack of viable alternatives.
A perfect legislative solution does not exist. Why? Because healthy living is an individual choice and not a mandate or federal program. As Americans we are destroying our bodies in the way we eat, work, and live; not in the way we access or pay for healthcare. The repercussions of our individual actions extend far beyond our own personal mortality and morbidity because the cost of care for preventable diseases like Type II diabetes are greater than any individual can bear. The increasing burden has to be shared and to many it seems unfair that someone’s poor health choices should become everyone’s expense. It is possible this burden of care could someday bankrupt our country in the same way military spending brought about the fall of the Soviet Union.
I have little confidence and less control over how all of this will be handled on a national level. But I believe we can make it happen in our local communities. In Mansfield, a very talented and dedicated team of health experts, local government officials, and community leaders have been diligently working towards a local solution. As part of the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce Mansfield 2020 Vision, wellness initiatives for our local businesses, children, and families are being created and implemented. The goal is for Mansfield to become known as a healthy community where our citizens enjoy a healthy way of life.
I believe the solution is here and not in Washington, DC and all of us can play a part by making healthy choices and encouraging each other in our quest for better personal health. Who knows, maybe our efforts can become a model for other communities to follow. If you want to learn more or play a greater role, please contact the Mansfield Area Chamber of Commerce.
By Rob Schulz