I am really excited to see how Surgeon General, Vivek Murthy, pushes his agenda forward and makes a difference in the health and well-being of our country. I love hearing about how he wants to focus on a prevention based health care system. After all, my career is predicated on prevention.
I am a firm believer in investing in prevention. Breastfeeding (even when done for short periods of time) helps decrease the risk of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, ear infections, and many other diseases in children. A mother who breastfeeds, decreases her risk of heart disease, breast cancer, and osteoporosis. When I try to encourage families to breastfeed their children, I share this information, but don’t push my agenda on others.
I also spend a lot of time talking about healthy eating, good sleep hygiene, and the importance of early literacy. These are habits that can begin early and build children up over a long period of time. And yet, preventative medicine is not what insurers want to pay for. They do not want to spend dollars to reimburse for the programs that will have a long term impact on our children. It’s sad and should not be tolerated.
On a positive note, the Affordable Care Act has helped most new mothers get an electric breast pump from their insurance company. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Vaccines that prevent diseases which can have long and short term impact on health (Chicken Pox, MMR, Pertussis) are widely available. Insurers are reimbursing people for health club memberships.
Let’s keep preventive medicine on everyone’s radar. Cheers to Dr. Murthy!
Here are the specifics of what Dr. Murthy stands for-