Former Medtronic CEO Bill George: No legislation has addressed the nation's biggest healthcare problem

The ACA never addressed Americans' unhealthy lifestyles, which are the root cause of a majority of the nation's problems, writes Bill George, former CEO of Medtronic and a senior fellow at Cambridge, Mass.-based Harvard Business School, in an op-ed for CNBC.

Republican efforts to repeal and replace the ACA would be disastrous for health insurance markets, Mr. George argues, but that does not mean he does not see the flaws of the ACA.

"The Trump administration's lack of a viable strategy for American health care just magnifies the original sin of the 2010 [ACA], which failed to address the root cause of America's health care problems: Unhealthy lifestyles," he writes.

He adds that 50-70 percent of healthcare costs stem from unhealthy lifestyles, as 38 percent of Americans are obese and 70 percent are overweight.

"Instead of waiting until people are seriously ill with chronic, often incurable diseases, America should shift its efforts to keeping people healthy in the first place," writes Mr. George. "As citizens, we have the responsibility to lead healthy lives, and share the fiscal consequences of our decisions when we don't. Until we do so, healthcare costs will continue to escalate, while our collective health declines further."

The federal government should develop a nationwide public awareness program to encourage exercise, healthy eating and stress reduction and also encourage government payers to reimburse non-traditional procedures such as acupuncture and weight reduction programs, he argues. He also suggests establishing community health systems in underserved areas to help educate people on nutrition and exercise.

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