By Dr. Mercola
I’ve recently written a couple of articles about the exorbitant cost of
medical care in the US, which is incompatible with the poor health outcomes
of Americans at large.
Americans pay the most for but reap the least amount of benefits from
their health care, compared to other industrialized nations. Overcharging and
over-treating are two factors contributing to this enormous problem.
Andrew Weil, author of You Can't Afford to Get Sick: Your Guide to
Optimum Health and Health Care, recently jumped into the fray with an article
on CNN1 and a full one-hour long CNN documentary. The documentary is called
Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, which CNN premiered on
March 10. Weil writes:
“The most insistent political question of the past four years has
been: How can more Americans get access to medical care?
The federal response was the Patient Protection and Affordable Care
Act. Better known as 'Obamacare,' it is a complex mix of insurance changes
and tax credits. When the act takes effect on January 1, 2014, it will
provide access to insurance to about 30 million people who currently don't
Unfortunately, that was the wrong question. So the looming 'answer'
is wrong as well. Here's the right question: How can we improve medical care
so that it's worth extending it to more people? In other words, how can we
create a health care system that helps people become and stay healthy?”
Disease-Management versus Health Care
I could not agree more with Weil’s statement that the US does not have a
health care system; we have a disease-management system.
It’s a system that is wholly dependent on expensive drugs and invasive
surgeries, opposed to preventive measures and simpler, less expensive
treatment alternatives. In short, it’s a system rooted in an ideal of
maximized profits, opposed to helping people maintain or regain their health.
The majority of the diseases we’re trying to “manage” in this manner are
lifestyle-related, and if you don’t address this root cause, you’ll never get
better. You’re just paying for overpriced band-aids that do absolutely
nothing to fix the underlying cause.
As Weil states:
“Making this system more accessible by passing costs to taxpayers
will simply spread its failures more broadly.”
Like myself, Weil promotes integrative medicine (IM) as a better
alternative to the current system. IM offers a combination of conventional
medical therapies and complementary or alternative therapies "for which there
is some high-quality scientific evidence of safety and effectiveness."
Placing greater emphasis on prevention, IM fosters long-term health, and
when disease does set in, conventional drug and surgery approaches are used
sparingly and/or as a last resort.
Our current system does the exact opposite. Drugs and surgery are
employed FIRST, and then, when the patient has exhausted all conventional
avenues, he or she will sometimes turn to alternative therapies or
nutritional interventions out of sheer desperation, on their own (and at
their own expense).
Frequently this is what ends up saving that person’s life...
Unfortunately, many have been financially ruined by the time they’ve wound
their way through the conventional system.
Escape Fire takes a deeper look at the problems inherent with our medical
system; the cause of the problems and its devastating effects, and provides
some hopeful solutions. Weil issued the following highlights from the film:
The torturous journey of Sgt. Robert Yates, an injured veteran
wounded in Afghanistan. He was prescribed a shopping bag full of prescription
medications that left him broken and miserable in body, mind and spirit.
Watching Yates begin to regain his health through gentle, low-cost therapies,
including meditation and acupuncture, is profoundly moving.
A look at the revolutionary Safeway Healthy Measures Program. It
gives the supermarket chain's employees financial incentives for taking
responsibility for their own health, decreasing Safeway's insurance costs
significantly while improving participants' well-being.
The dramatic story of Dr. Erin Martin, an Oregon primary care
physician fed up with being pushed to treat patients faster and faster to
boost clinic profits. She enrolled in the Arizona Center for Integrative
Medicine's Fellowship Program to find a better way, explaining that "I'm not
interested in getting my productivity up -- I'm interested in helping
Why the Affordable Health Care Act is Unlikely to Benefit Your Health
Last fall, I gave a presentation at Harper College, in which I discussed
the Affordable Health Care Act, and why it’s likely to make matters far worse
rather than better. It’s important to understand that guaranteed health
insurance does NOT equate to guaranteed health care.
A major part of the problem is that the Act does not include any
strategies designed to actually prevent illness. It also does not contain any
measures to rein in or reduce out-of-control health care costs related to
overcharges. Instead it expands an already flawed model of “care” that has
been and continues to be a leading cause of both death and bankruptcy in the
Free Lead System Forever
My Girl---Temptations 1965
God Bless Everyone & God Bless The United States of America.