The New Legislation in Vermont is now a Law –
the whole country is watching Green Mountain Care
To consider new health policy, we should recognize that Prevention must take a primary role, in order to slow the rate of chronic illness. Medical care is expensive, and true Prevention has been neglected, so doctors have been treating more illnesses. That is the central reason for the crisis – high costs.
Everyone knows it is less expensive to prevent illnesses, and it would save money to reconsider how many alternative practices provide very effective forms of treatment. They are less expensive than medicine, but cannot be called evidence-based until more research is directed to them. In Vermont, we could make it a policy matter to call for documentation from various practitioners in Integrative Medicine, because we have actually become a leader in complementary practices.
People need energy to practice Prevention. In this Economy, that has been very hard to manage. Why has stress reduction declined in recognition? It is a major factor in many chronic illnesses — clearly, reducing stress is an effective aspect of increasing energy. There are so many approaches that contribute to stress reduction, and they are all low-cost ideas – you have to do them yourself.
Vermont Wellness Education is working to establish an evidence-based protocol to present to the Green Mountain Care Board, to justify giving people high-level incentives for stress reduction. We know that stress makes us more rigid, and less open to change; our recommendations include many social activities — to decrease our sense of isolation, improve wellness, and increase multiple levels of personal satisfaction. We think technologies that increase life satisfaction would be a “profitable area of health study.”
To improve Prevention, Vermont can implement many innovations in education. We can only improve health if we improve motivation; most conventional approaches fall short in real guidance and support. These aspects of interaction need to be recognized when policy is written. Education is the important domain for Prevention, not medicine — and we need to include another significant element when thinking about improving health care: Prevention depends on better understanding of self-care. Learning about wellness is just as important as access to medicine — this should have a more prominent place in our idea of primary care.
We deserve primary care that emphasizes Health and Wellness – instead, we pay for insurance contracts that mostly recognize drugs and surgery. Treating a condition, even at an early stage, is NOT prevention. The health care debate is about who pays for whose illness. We want Vermont to promote Better Health, not just more treatment. This is an opportunity to improve Quality of Life issues; somehow this has been disconnected from health. It will also save money.