Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Health and Leisure

Recreation and Leisure are important parts of a healthy lifestyle.

I've noticed that when my health care resources are owned by a third party, I have a much harder time engaging in leisure. Our absurd system of pooled health resource creates unnecessary layers of tensions between people and their health care resources.

For example, I've worked in companies where I needed to go through the HR department to use my health benefits. My relation with the HR department would determine my access to care, and not my actual health.

In the cases where I lost employment, I found that the lack of health insurance dramatically affected my approach to leisure. Even when I had used the Cobra option, I found myself worried sick about my health care resources. This would affect the leisure of unemployment.

Having a third party own one's health care resources creates unnecessary tensions which result in unhealthy approach to one's health.

When I worked for a state run insurance agency, I found that some workers were not using their health care benefits because they felt political pressures from the system. Other workers, such as HR clerks and those in political power, were overusing the system. As they were in a position of power, they felt comfortable working the system.

In other words, the political players at the center of the system appeared to be guarding the pool of health funds for themselves.

Neither the inside players, nor the workers had a healthy relation with their health care resources.

I believe that people would develop a much healthier relation to their health resources if they actually owned the resources. If employees had even half of the money thrown into their insurance benefits stuffed in a health savings account; the worker would start approaching these resources with the mindset of how they would use the resources throughout their life.

As people enjoy health more than sickness, I contend that, if people had control of their health care resources, they would follow Tom Daschel's advice and seek to spend their health resources on maintaining wellness.

If people felt comfortable with their resources, then they would develop a lifestyle with a balance of work and leisure that better suited the human condition.

I realize that this post is weird. I believe that the absurd decision to surrender our health care to a third party created a climate where people are under greater pressure and spend more time toiling away at meaningless tasks at work and less time engaged in leisure. Having our health owned by a third party makes us beholden to that third party in unnatural ways.

If people were made the direct owners of the bulk of their health care resources, I think people would develop a healthier relation to their resources.

I can't help but notice that independently wealthy people often have a healthier relation with their health care than those depending on a third party.

Now, I do know the right balance between work and leisure. Our current system that developes artificial dependencies seems to have people stuck on treadmills with a very unhealthy relation with their health. Giving people greater control of the health care resources they earn might help people develop a healthier balance to their lives.

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