We all know that the public health system doesn’t work. We live in a country where people don’t take care of themselves. Obesity and malnutrition are everywhere. This translates to extremely high health costs and right now, a small few are paying for the services of a whole lot, and to top it all off, part of that money remains in the desks and salaries of the insurance company. This shouldn’t be.
1. I propose a Universal Health Plan that isn’t insurance, but rather a fee. Each member of the society needs to pay, whether rich or poor, or whether you have health insurance or not. If anybody needs help paying this fee, the money will be gathered via fundraising galas and such, not from the fees paid by others. This fee, say $200 a year (this would have to be researched in order to have the right #) would be invested in public health centers and hospitals. Whoever needs medical attention can go to these public hospitals regardless of social status, economic status etc. There will be 0 deductibles. The yearly fee and budget should cover everything. If someone prefers private treatment they can go ahead and pay for it, but the public service should be equally good or better (that means we have to give competitive salaries to doctors and nurses). The hospitals should be linked to the School of Medicine and all educational institutions that have to do with health. As part of this effort, healthy living should be promoted and emphasized. It should also link to the Department of Education so that healthy diets will be included in the lunch menus at school and healthy lifestyles stimulated.
2. This new Health System should promote and stimulate healthy breastfeeding and natural labor practices as well as midwifery. The Cesarean Epidemic that haunts the Island; mostly promoted by fear of Lawsuits, has to change NOW. It is unacceptable (wait for blog on this subject: The C-Section Curse).
3. As a complement to the Public Health System, the government needs to establish a preventive health policy that emphasizes on healthy lifestyles. How? By logical and effective urban planning. There should be open public spaces for exercising, cities should be walkable, and the public transportation system needs to be trustworthy and efficient. It also needs to be expanded and improved.
4. I would begin the school day with 30 minutes of exercise to everybody (students and teachers all the way to Senior year). Like that movie “Gong Ho” where they all lined up to work out… everyone lined up doing Yoga. Imagine what Puerto Ricans would be like. We’re already good-looking, we’d be hotter than hell (all modesty aside). That routine, after 15 years of your life, will stay with you forever. We would all be healthier and need fewer medical treatments and medicines. In sum, the cost of the yearly health quota would be significantly less.
5. Organic living. We need to go back to the organism. That doesn’t mean eating organic; it means considering nature in all our planning and building endeavors. Architecture should use our climate, trees, and natural techniques to keep structures cool. The knowledge is there and we used to use it. Let’s go back to practical and creative architecture. Not everything needs to be designed with air conditioning in mind.
6. Universal Recycling. We should establish recycling in the entire Island. Recycling should be the norm when it comes to waste disposal. Separated trash cans should be everywhere: Aluminum, paper, fabric, glass, plastic, and even food. Let’s recycle it all! We cannot continue to produce trash like we have been doing so far. It’s clear that if we continue this trend we will end up surrounded by trash like in that movie “Wall-E”. You tell me if you’d like to go swimming in an ocean full of Coca-Cola bottles. No thanks!