Thursday, March 5, 2009

New Leadership

Our new leadership hopes to get our economy back on track by spending big on a wide spectrum of government initiatives from education to healthcare. The more than 800 pages of the new stimulus package describe close to $800 billion of spending – about $1 billion per page. Some experts say that spending is medicine our economy needs now.

Healthcare spending has been an ongoing stimulus package, and most employers have been at the tipping point for years. Employers and employees want to spend less, not more -- and that would be a good thing. When people pay an ever increasing amount for their healthcare (whether employer or employee – for insurance premiums, deductibles or co-pays) it robs money from other parts of budgets, thus reducing spending flow to other sectors of the economy.

No doubt coming up with a more effective way to extend healthcare or insurance to our non-covered population will be beneficial. However, simply moving dollars around is not the solution. Rationing care on the elderly has been discussed, but if the purpose of this is only to provide care to the previously underinsured, it’s more like a very dangerous game of musical chairs.

Using and needing less healthcare service will lead to lower costs. Does the stimulus package include spending on incentives to be healthy? Eating less and exercising more with better nutrition? I hope so.

- Mark Alder, President, Herbruck Alder -

Monday, March 2, 2009

Real World Example Shows Benefits of Getting More Sleep

A recent article on MSNBC chronicled an experiment done at the Glamour Magazine office. It involved a handful of women following the simplest of regimens for 10 weeks to see what the weight loss effects would be. All they had to do was get 7.5 hours of sleep per night.

The results were pretty amazing, especially when you consider the subjects really changed nothing else in their daily routine. The women lost between 6 and 15 pounds over those 10 weeks. Three of them lost a pound or more per week. The article goes on to explain that the extra sleep allows growth hormone to break down stored fat. So, we can be sure that the weight lost was fat, which of course is what we all want.

Sometimes scientific studies have a great message, but the average person loses the point in all the technical details. That’s what I like about this article. It’s not a controlled study at all, but it’s simple enough that anybody can try it. And really, what’s the harm in trying to get more sleep? We all know sleeping more is a good thing for our bodies. Now we have a real world example that shows just how good it could be.

- Kevin Hignett,