Oxford researchers say they have confirmed that alcohol is a direct cause of cancer, emphasizing how their findings reinforce the need to lower levels of alcohol consumption in the population for cancer prevention. The question is will the healthcare community do anything about these findings?
Worldwide, alcohol is responsible for an estimated 3 million deaths each year, with over 400,000 from cancer. The authors point out that with alcohol consumption rising, particularly in rapidly developing countries such as China, there is an “urgent need to understand how alcohol affects disease risks in different populations.”
So now, in addition to obesity, alcohol is killing us. These findings will probably have. Zero effect on alcohol consumption, just as obesity findings have led to almost no changes to American lifestyles. The ethical and moral questions become “should people who are obese or drink alcohol pay more for their health insurance?
I make the time to exercise via bike riding. Some days I don’t want to ride, but I understand the importance of exercise to my body. In an age when a record number of employees are changing jobs, should they look for a job that allows them the time to exercise? Should employers counsel employees on alcohol use?
I believe that health insurance rates should be set based on the findings from annual physicals. Patients who are overweight, consume more than a couple of drinks a week and don’t exercise SHOULD pay more. Insurance companies should give price incentives to employers to execute wellness programs within their companies. Employers who, for example, pay for employee gym memberships should be reimbursed, provided there is proof employees are using them.
Endpoints recently wrote, “between 2009 and 2020, prices increased — with one exception — within and across all 12 cancer drug classes studied in the U.S., whereas prices in Switzerland and Germany generally decreased over time or did not rise more than inflation, according to a recent publication in the Lancet”. Why? Because cancer is a lucrative market. Even though some cancer rates are dropping, there are projections that they may increase because of the obesity epidemic.
Millennials are also in trouble. Millennials, who now account for the largest share of the U.S. population and labor force, are seeing their health — including physical and behavioral health conditions — decline faster than the previous generation as they age, according to a report published by Moody’s Analytics, based on data from Blue Cross Blue Shield.
As a result, millennials, or individuals born between 1981 and 1996, will likely see more expensive health care costs in the year ahead. If the trend continues at the current rate, millennial treatment costs are still projected to be close to $4,500 annually, roughly 33 percent higher than Generation X’s at a comparable age, by 2027. That’s about $375 per month.
And what are we doing about it? Nothing. Zero. Nada.
One day someone high in the healthcare chain will talk about focusing more on prevention in addition to treatment. That day can’t come too soon.