Controversial or not, Obamacare is now the law of the land. Depending on who you survey and how, rates are better for individuals than before, or they are more expensive. One thing is for certain, more and more people are being subsidized for health benefits than were before. But is this the real issue at hand?
I’ve always been told if the wheel isn’t broke, don’t fix it. In the case of socialized medicine, I believe we refused to address the real underlying problems with our medical system today. The system IS broken, and all we did was throw billions upon billions of additional dollars at that same system. This is not to say that everything about our United States healthcare program is a failure. In fact, I content that for emergency care and certain surgical procedures, we are by far the best in the world.
The problem with healthcare today boils down to two major flaws in my humble opinion. The first has to do with much of the beaurocracy such as billing, coding, and variable rates for private insurance, versus medicaid or cash customers. Five yeasr ago CNN reported that over $1.2 trillion was wasted every year.
Over my 20 year career in the health and wellness field, I can think of 3 examples that dealt with this issue in my own family and with our two clinics. The first example I have is for an ER visit in our own family for a minor fall that resulted in a pinched nerve and muscle spasms. When I informed the Hospital that we were cash customers, they simply sent me the bill. What ensued was quite surprising. When I called the hospital to negotiate the terms of my payment, they let me know they just sent me the normal insurance rates. The next thing I knew my $3500 bill was cut all the way down to $1200. That’s nearly a 2/3 haircut from the insurance price. This let me know something was messed up with the system, although I happily paid the lower rate.
The second example I experienced was working with my MD partner at my clinics, and is essentially two-fold. We were discussing the process for ordering CT scans, MRI’s, and blood work. He informed me that as a physician, he was getting around a $400 kick back for every scan he referred out. As a naturopathic doctor myself, we don’t have such luxuries. The next surprise came when we set up full scale blood analysis for our patients to place them on hormone optimization, similar to the Cenegenics plans you see out of Vegas. After all, my MD partner was literally Dr. Buff and was Cenegenics trained. He told me to make sure our patients did not let the lab bill them for the blood work, but to send the bill to us. He had standard rates for a mdeical doctor to receive from this national laboratory outfit, and it was a fraction of the cost they bill patients or insurance. How much of a fraction? Our work up included 9 vials of blood and a very comprehensive panel that was between $2500-3500 at a hospital or billed to your insurance. We found out the hard way when one of our patients forgot to notify the lab and his insurance was billed around $3000. Compared to our standard clinical rate of just $200 by the lab, the 15 X multiplier floored me, as well as our patient, who paid substantially less for our entire 6 month program. If the lab can make money at $200, I guess who can blame them for billing the insurance for $3000, right? The system is broke when there is not a uniform system of billing, but one I would label as “unequal weights and measures”, which goes back thousands of years.
My second point is a belief that by and large we are supporting a healthcare system that is being run by board rooms, stock holders, and bottom lines. It makes much more sense to treat an illness than it does to cure it, when you need to support ongoing revenue, dividends, and profits. This may sound controversial to some, but I challenge you to name very many cures that exist in modern medicine. Sure we can cut something out, radiate it to death, or perform fantastic surgeries. But I have looked and looked for degenerative diseases that we have cured. We bike for MS, walk for diabetes, run for Cancer, and telethon for Muscular Dystrophy. And those are incredibly honorable things to do! But we have been doing them for decades without a single cure.
My final example goes back to my title and dealing with cancer itself. I have had the privilege of helping hundreds and hundreds of cancer clients over my two decades in wellness. One of the most notable was my stepfather. Over ten years ago he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Unfortunately he had just changed jobs, and for whatever reason there was a 90 day lapse in his health coverage. My parents called me, because the doctor said he didn’t have 90 days to wait. They knew the $200-300,000 in cancer treatments that were forthcoming were going to literally bankrupt them. So they asked me if there was another way. So we proceeded with a plan to help his body come back to balance and fight the cancer naturally. Within two months he was cancer free, and his doctor was staring at the before and after scans wondering what the heck happened. Incidentally, we are the world’s worst at getting prostate cancer.
Did I have some secret cure for cancer? That is ridiculous, of course not. But I did rely upon scientific research that went all the way back to Dr. Otto Warburg who won the Nobel Prize in medicine in 1931 for his work surrounding cancer. Which, by the way, he reversed his entire career.
My intention here is not to bash healthcare companies, doctors, hospitals, or any one institution. But 50 years ago we treated cancer with radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Today we are treating cancer 99% of the time with…radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy. Much improved I will be the first to admit, but this tells me the system is broken. It is estimated that more than $4 trillion has been raised for cancer research to date. Something tells me we haven’t gotten our money’s worth.
Critics will ask then, why aren’t there double blind clinical studies on natural remedies in science? I will tell you it is because they are not allowed to see the light of day. No one will fund such research, and if a private group does, the science is dismissed before the FDA would even give it a chance at becoming standard of care. This is why I contend the system is broken to begin with, and all we have done is throw more money at a failing system.
The United States spends more money on healthcare than any two countries in the world combined. I will leave you with a quote from the the World Health Organization’s website. They make my case that the system here in th U.S. is broken.
“The U.S. health system spends a higher portion of its gross domestic product than any other country but ranks 37 out of 191 countries according to its performance, the report finds. The United Kingdom, which spends just six percent of GDP on health services, ranks 18 th . Several small countries – San Marino, Andorra, Malta and Singapore are rated close behind second- placed Italy.”