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GenZ Sue Boomers Over Health?!

We don’t usually think of Germans as being litigious--but desperate situations breed desperate measures.  The youth of Germany just won a major legal victory , in which they sued the government, dominated by older Germans such as Chancellor Merkel, over climate issues.  Younger Germans allege that those in power are not doing enough to prevent a future climate catastrophe, which would harm today’s youth much more than today’s elderly--who will be long dead by the time the full force of climate change hits Germany. Which makes me wonder: what if GenZ-ers and Millennials sued our ruling-class Boomers over their gross neglect of youth health?   Our older generations have allowed younger generations to develop epidemic levels of chronic disease. Across the country, our “leaders” wantonly permitted schools to slash physical & health education & recess.  This has been a major factor in today’s pervasive child inactivity, obesity & unfitness--inevitably leading to epidemic teen pr
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Our Role & Results

OK, so we've been doing a lot of blog-tificating.  But what is it that we are doing to make things better?  And are we really still needed--if we ever were? When I founded what became Healthy Future US, I knew our task was extremely difficult. (As they say: “if it was easy, it would have been done already.”)  But I thought it would be quicker & easier than it has been.  After all, wasn't it increasingly obvious that our health and related costs were devastatingly out of control, with an urgent need to address the primary root causes of inactivity & unhealthy nutrition? As we enter Year 8 of full-time social entrepreneurship & advocacy, it's helpful to review our track record and rethink our future based on lessons learned.  This blog format is not great for lengthy explanations, but here are a few key points: - Start-ups always take longer and cost more than you think--even more so in the social sector, where public-policy timeframes stretch into decades. - The

Systemic AND Systematic

It seems like every social sector organization is providing "systemic" solutions nowadays. (That's a sure sign that funders are demanding that we address root causes more--not just programs as a temporary band-aid for symptoms of persistent major underlying problems.)   Of course, if everyone really were providing systemic solutions, we wouldn't have any problems anymore.  Instead, many problems are getting worse.  So, what are we missing?  What about truly catastrophic long-running and ever-worsening systemic issues like child obesity and adult diabetes? The social determinants of health (SDOH) framework shows us how complex such issues are.  But it's hard enough to reform one systemic cause of inactivity and unhealthy nutrition--much less trying to tackle a dozen at once.   This is where we can bring in a framework from the business world: 80/20.  What 20% of the effort will address 80% of the issue?  In other words, we need to review the main alternative strate

Rescuing the Rescue Plan

The massive new Affordable Care Act subsidies in the $1.9T American Rescue Plan are still not enough.   They never will be. "By next year, taxpayers will shell out more than $8,500 for every American who gets a subsidized health plan through insurance marketplaces created by the ACA, often called Obamacare."  Yet many with those plans will still have a $6,000 or so out-of-pocket deductible, on top of their subsidized premiums.  That  recent analysis  by NPR & Kaiser Family Foundation reinforces our previous blog posts.  Many people will be better off with a lower salary and "free" Medicaid coverage than a higher salary--even with highly subsidized ACA health insurance plans.  And "affordability" does not mean throwing unlimited federal money at something that is too expensive to begin with.   Let's face it (even though we still don't want to)--a s long as we are this unhealthy, we can't afford our health care.   So let's get healthier--

Testing Our Patients/ce...

The US Preventive Services Task Force just recommended that people get tested for diabetes at a younger age: 35. Early detection will help prevent complications from untreated diabetes. “The lowered recommended age for screening ‘has really been driven by the obesity epidemic—greater rates of obesity in young people.’” (WSJ, 3/16/2021) If this preliminary draft recommendation is approved, many insurers will provide this testing for free. Actually, with about 20% of teens estimated to have prediabetes & 10% with severe obesity already, & 1/3 lower-income kids & children of color headed for diabetes, testing should start much earlier for at-risk young adults--perhaps @25 years old. The more I think about these statistics, the angrier I get. We should have declared a national child health emergency in the late 1970s, when the child obesity epidemic began. If those kids had been upper-income white children, we would have dealt with it much sooner. Yet in spite of some imp

Chronic vs. College (Guess Who's Winning?)

Are you an idiot for going to college?   We've been told for decades: get a college degree and make a lot more money. Then over the last decade or two, we started hearing about millions of people overwhelmed with college debt, whose post-college salary could not pay off their loans.  Living in their parents' basement.  Bankrupt. But it's even worse:  To calculate your disposable income post-college, you should subtract out your college debt repayments & lost wages while attending college & your portion of employer-provided health insurance (premiums, co-pays, out-of-pocket costs).  Then look at your "real" salary.   Ouch!   Particularly if you or someone in your family is at-risk of a chronic condition , you could have been better off with a low-paying job and being on Medicaid (free government health coverage). For example, if you attended a state university in Arizona, the median salary in 2018 was $51,197. But subtract college debt + foregone-wages +

Drug Sema-ntics: Paying $15K to Save $5-10K !?

Why is it that so many "solutions" to chronic disease are good-news/bad-news? Take great news about the "miracle-drug" semaglutide.  Originally for people with type 2 diabetes, a  recent study  shows it can reduce weight by 10-20%+ for those with obesity--with minimal side-effects, and requiring only a weekly subcutaneous (just-under-the-skin) self-administered injection.  That amount of weight loss is also often enough to reverse prediabetes & even type 2 diabetes! So what's the bad news?   Semaglutide is a proprietary biologic pharmaceutical.  It costs  $1000/month  for the smaller dose needed to manage diabetes.  Extrapolating this, the larger dose used in the study to reduce obesity could cost $2000+/month!  R educing the cost substantially could be a challenge.  B iologics are typically more complex & expensive to manufacture than traditional pharmaceuticals. And BTW: if you stop taking semaglutide after losing that weight, you will tend to gain it