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Are We Getting Healthier?

Health Care is a crucial industry in Australia. Every time an election comes around, it is always one of the biggest and most contentious issues on the agenda, as politicians compete for the affections of the voting public. The standard rhetoric of “more money for health and education” is becoming very familiar.

Here in South Australia, everyone seems to have an opinion about whether to redevelop the Royal Adelaide Hospital or whether to build the new Marjorie Jackson Nelson Hospital. Whatever your inclination might be with respect to this argument, we all know that the cost of the project whichever way it goes will be enormous. The figures that get thrown around are usually much bigger than any normal person can possibly relate to. Well, as the old song goes, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

How much do we as a society spend on health care? This time last year, the Australian institute of Health and Welfare published their annual report “Health Expenditure Australia” which listed the findings from 2007-08. As a nation, we collectively spent 104 billion dollars. I’ll say it again, one hundred and four BILLION dollars. This was the first time our federal health budget topped the 100 billion mark. In the 10 years leading up to that, the average annual growth in spending was 5.2 %. This means that each year we are spending 5 % more on health care than we did the previous year. The biggest single area of growth was in organised vaccination programs, which had a funding increase of 56% from the year before.

So what do all of these figures mean? Probably not much, unless we ask a more important question. For all of this money we’re spending, are we actually getting healthier? The biggest burdens on our health system are heart disease, cancer, diabetes and depression. All signs point to these illnesses becoming worse and more prevalent, needing more money to be spent on them each year while our collective health continues to deteriorate. As far as vaccination goes, we are constantly hearing about how each year is going to be worse than ever for flu, swine flu, whooping cough and an array of diseases. With such enormous funding increases, how is this possible?

It is obvious that throwing more money at the problem is not getting us anywhere. We need to start looking at ways of preventing health problems rather than treating them, as this usually proves to be cheaper and more effective in the long term. Hospital treatment procedures and advanced imaging techniques start accumulating costs in the thousands of dollars very quickly.

The complementary health care professions such as chiropractic have always had a focus on prevention. A chiropractor will usually look to counsel a patient on important lifestyle like diet, exercise, stress management etc to better equip them to deal with the increasing demands of society.

While we’re talking costs, at 100 billion spread over the population of Australia, we’re spending an average of $4613 per person per year on health. For a fraction of that, you could take your whole family to the chiropractor, eat healthier food, and exercise more for the entire year. If you want some tips on healthy living without the astronomical costs, speak to your chiropractor today.

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