Everyone talks about reducing health care costs, but it never seems to happen. Each year we see higher medical costs, higher insurance premiums and higher deductibles, and there is no end in sight. We continually talk about expanding Medicaid in Idaho because of the 78,000 people who are caught in a gap that excludes them from receiving benefits because of income restrictions. If anyone were sincere, they would try a different approach besides denying availability and rationing of care which is what insurance companies try to do. If we really wanted to cut healthcare costs, we need to get serious about how to prevent healthcare needs. Problem is there is no money in prevention so it is not something that is stressed in medical school, internship or residency. Money can only be made by waiting for a sickness or injury to happen like cancer or cardiovascular disease, and then dealing with it.
The inquiring mind would ask the question, wouldn’t it be cheaper if we prevented injuries and diseases from occurring, and why aren’t we doing it. Here is part of the answer. The insurance business works something like this. Let’s say the cost to insure you is $1,000. According to the Feds the most an insurance company can tack on to your premium is 7% so your cost is $1070. If indeed the insurance companies and medical profession were to implement standards to prevent injury and disease and it worked, the cost according to their actuaries would be $100. Since 7% of one hundred dollars is seven dollars rather than $70 dollars, where is the incentive for the insurance companies to push for preventative medicine? You see the higher the cost for insurance the bigger piece of the pie they get. Their incentive is to keep the status quo and continue to reap the harvest while people suffer, and many are left without the ability to purchase health insurance. The government then decides that they should take our tax dollars to pay for those who can’t afford insurance so we wind up paying twice. Once the government gets involved we all know that costs continue to rise because of paper work and typical bureaucratic inefficiencies.
Steve Ackerman and I predicted three years ago how the cost of health insurance would soar, and we have since seen many obscene increases in premiums and higher deductibles. The reason we said this is because the insurers were never asked to participate in controlling the costs while expanding access to healthcare. Certainly you would think that these people who run our country would understand that you can’t expand coverage and access without assessing the cost, but of course most of our legislators never took economics 101. They would rather throw money at the problem instead of finding the solution which is prevention
We are not going to see any change in our healthcare system because the corporate globalist’s entities are standing in the way of making progress in preventative medicine. If we prevent injuries and disease, then there is little profit to be made by the insurance companies, big pharma and the American Medical Association. Understand that these entities are not looking out for your welfare they are looking for your money, and they make no bones about getting it from you. The corporations don’t want a healthy population or one that is financially well off as that would make them more independent and less controllable.
Let’s take for example cancer which is something I have a lot of firsthand information on because my wife has been dealing with it for the last 8 months. When you look at the statistics in the 1920’s one in twenty people contracted cancer, in the 1940’s it was 1 in 16, in the 1970’s it was 1 in 10, in the year 2,000 it was 1 in 3 and today you have a 50/50 chance of getting some form of this disease in your life time. These numbers are absolutely incredible but they are real, and you will never hear the government or the big pharma touting them. Why? Because it is a $100 plus billion industry that employs tens of thousands of people. What would happen to that industry if suddenly we found a miracle cure? A lot of people would be put out of work and profits would plummet. It’s interesting to note that in 1971 President Nixon declared war on cancer and 45 years later we still have nothing even close to a cure. With all the hundreds of billions of dollars poured into research the best we have done is to get a 5 year cure rate with chemotherapy of 2.5%.
If we as a nation were to push prevention of disease rather than finding cures for disease, we would empower the populace not the government and the big corporations. If the government really wanted to improve the health of the people, they would be pushing nutritionally sound diets that would steer people away from highly processed foods along with refined sugar and unhealthy carbohydrates as these are responsible for the obesity epidemic plaguing our county. Unfortunately that is not the case. There is currently a propaganda war going on between the food manufacturers and several states on the truth in labeling of our food products. The manufacturers don’t want you to know what is in your food, where it comes from or the fact that is has been genetically modified. Unfortunately we have the FDA and other food organizations promoting the worst things for people to eat because of the huge profits they reap and don’t want truth in labeling. Manufacturers push these products through all sorts of media often times telling us how good they are for our health when indeed these products are the root causes of many preventable diseases. Our government even allow companies like Monsanto to genetically engineer our food products, produce pesticides that are integrated into the foods we eat even to the point where antibiotics injected into cattle are found in our meat. In fact if you do a little research you will find out that the FDA and executives at Monsanto are almost on an interchangeable Merry-go-round along with Big Pharma.
Let me give you an example of how we are treated by our physicians. Last week I visited my internist for my annual physical. After his assistant took my vitals he came in and I asked him about this letter he sent to me with the results of a blood test. The letter stated that my blood work was fine and I had a plus or minus 23% chance of a heart problem in the next 10 years and should be on a statin drug for prevention. I told him my blood pressure is fine I don’t drink or smoke and exercise regularly, and I don’t want to take a statin drug as I have read about many problems that can develop from taking these kinds of drugs. That was like pulling the pin on a hand grenade as he asked me why even bother to come in for a checkup if I wasn’t going to listen to his advice. I proceeded to hand him 20 pages of articles giving research results on statin drugs and asked him to read it. People depend on their doctors for sound medical advice and I would say for the most part they get it, but physicians are taught to rely too heavily on drugs to cure everything rather than taking the time to get to know their patients and work on their problems from a nutritional point of view. It’s a fact that physicians receive on average only 23.9 contact hours of training in nutrition when attending medical school.
The only hope we have is to get someone into office who is not beholden to the insurance companies or big pharma and get on a path to prevention. If we don’t the healthcare industry will continue to gobble up more and more of our dollars and control more of our lives each and every year till we are all broke.