One of the most basic problems in American health care is the ongoing failure of Americans to take personal responsibility for their health.

Consider the analogy of Americans and their cars. You can buy a Cadillac, a Chevy or a cheap used car. Whatever it is, you take care of it. Americans take better care of their cars than they do of themselves.

Do Laborers take care of themselves? Most of LIUNA’s health and welfare plans offer a wellness benefit. The plan may pay up to $200 to cover an annual doctor’s visit and associated tests. If you get this annual check-up, potentially serious problems will be discovered at an early, readily treatable stage. This means less cost down the road, but, especially, it means less pain and suffering, a healthier, more vigorous, longer-lasting life. Do LIUNA members and their families take advantage of this benefit? Sadly, the answer for most is no.

LIUNA health and welfare funds that provide a wellness benefit estimate that only one in twenty Laborers and family members actually get their annual check-up. That is only five percent.

We can be pretty sure that more than five percent of Laborers get the oil changed in their trucks. Such preventive maintenance should be applied to their health as well. If it breaks down, you can buy a new car or truck, but you only get one body. Take greater personal responsibility for your own health. Start with an annual check-up by your primary care doctor.