02/13/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Turning to the Vedas to Fix the Health Care System

It's time to do something about health care that doesn't depend on the government. In the US, everything is stalled for a week until Obama takes over and changes our world.

This is magical thinking. The US health care system is going to be broken for the forseeable future, and only because I am now far enough away from it to have some perspective do I understand that it is the responsibility of each individual to take personal responsibility for his or her health. We have given it over to the government for the past fifty years with disastrous results.

Perhaps I have this distance also because I am in India this week visiting the Jiva Institute, a contemporary reinterpretation of ancient Vedic wisdom, which advocates a balance of body, mind and soul and offers Ayurvedic treatments to help optimize health and prevent illness.

The simple practice of keeping your life in balance means you can avoid the health care system while waiting for it to get better (if it ever does). I will send you to Jiva for information about their simple Jivananda program for busy people -- a few small lifesyle tweaks that will make a big difference.

And then I will remind you that here in India, people do not rely on the government because they cannot. The power goes in and out constantly, the streets have no curbs and sidewalks, all basic infrastructure is woefully lacking. And yet, life goes on because India has become a nation of entrepreneurs who do not depend for their well-being on "good" government. In the award-winning novel The White Tiger, the author talks about village hospitals in which the doctors never appear, because they are hired by the government to go to the hospital, but pay money to a clerk to check off a ledger that says they've already visited the hospital for the week.

You may think this only happens in India, but people in American hospitals wait long periods of time to see a doctor, too, although for different reasons.

In India, this leads people to learn on their own and to take more personal responsibility. It has developed a nation of entrepreneurs. In America, we are currently a nation of learned helplessness, standing in line at the government's door waiting for our bailouts.

Health care for individuals is far back in the bailout line. If you are currently uninsured, or uninsurable, try reading Ayurveda to get a different perspective on what you can do for your own health. You might find it's less frightening to be uninsured while this whole crisis sorts itself out.

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