Health Care Debate.. Again

Health costs are bankrupting small businesses and even conglomerates like General Motors as well as millions of families. Medicare is on track to go broke by 2017, and our long-term budget problems are primarily health-cost problems.

Cost if health care
Pay up!

Why is it bad to be sick? Is it a tough theoretical question?

How does being chronically ill affect your family? Your quality of life? Your job?
How does being sick affect your finances?
Are these difficult questions?
Are you taking medications? It seems it is becoming a norm to take medications after a certain age.
Why? Why is that a rule rather than an exception?
Why are we becoming a society of sick people? Why are we getting used to the fact that a half of our population is sick?!
Some more “questions” to my fellow Americans: would you prefer to stay healthy or to be sick?
Fat or trim
To go fishing or to go to the doctor
To pay the doctor or to go on vacation
Socialized Government care
Would you prefer:
To be insured by the private firefighter company or to have “Government firefighters” that you know will be there if your house catches fire.
Do you want USPS service to mail your letter or do you want private companies like UPS only?
Do you want a “social” government army or a Blackwater type army?
Do you need to be an economist or a politician to understand the benefits of basic health care for ALL?
Health care issues in our country are long-term problems and require long term solutions.
It starts with going back to basics.
Preventive care.
Time Magazine June 29 2009
No. 1 killer of Americans (as it has been for all but a few years since 1900), our collective waistline continues to bulge, diabetes rates march ever higher, and after steadily declining in recent decades, the smoking rate among high schoolers is leveling off. The U.S. boasts the best cutting-edge medicine in the world, yet 75% of our health-care costs are attributable to chronic, preventable diseases. In all, about 40% of premature deaths in the U.S. are caused by lifestyle choices — smoking, poor eating and inactivity
Did you notice” the best cutting-edge medicine in the world”-not the best healthcare system in the world. Do you understand the difference?
More questions:
Your car: Do you change the oil regularly or do you wait until you need to replace the engine?
Do you check the brakes from time to time or do you replace the whole mechanism after it falls apart?
In short, do you prefer to do preventative maintenance for your car?
If yes – why?
Is that because you may get killed on the road or you know that you will need to spend money on a new car if you don’t take care of it?
However you treat your car, do you treat your body the same way?
If you do not do preventative care of your body – why?
Is it because it is cheaper to replace parts of your body than parts of your car?
Or is it easier to get a new body than a new car?
Do you need to be an economist to understand the benefits of preventative care?
Ours is a system that rewards pills and procedures and nurtures a clinical culture in which the goal is primarily to fix what goes wrong. “I never saw a well patient in my life,” says a doctor of the years he spent as a heart surgeon. “They were all sick. We are in the sickness business. We need to get into the health business.”
Do you need to read statistics to know that “health” care in our country is in crisis taken hostage by drug and insurance conglomerates?
Conglomerates whose ONLY concern is profit not your health.
In order to make more money, the goal of insurance companies is NOT to treat you.
The goal of drug companies is to help your symptoms a little so you will keep buying their products-drugs. In other words – to keep you sick.
And doctors are forced to do a lot of unnecessary procedures because of the pay structure and liability concerns.
Healthcare problems
Serious problem

“ The U.S. spends more on health care than any other country does, and studies have suggested that as much as 30% of it — perhaps $700 billion a year — may be wasted on unneeded care, mostly routine CT scans and MRIs, office visits, minor procedures and brand-name prescriptions that are requested by patients and ordered by doctors every day.

For example, chronically ill patients in Los Angeles visited doctors an average of 59.2 times in the last six months of their life, vs. only 14.5 times in Ogden, Utah; they still ended up just as dead.
Patients in higher-spending regions get more tests, more procedures, more referrals to specialists and more time in the hospital and ICU, but the Dartmouth research has found that if anything, their outcomes are slightly worse. “We’re flying blind,” says Dartmouth’s Dr. Elliott Fisher. “We’re getting quantity, not quality.”
My fellow Americans
Look around when you are in public places. Look around at people.
Do you see overweight and sick people around? According to Chicago Tribune average American carries an extra 23 pounds and the nation, collectively, is about 4.6 billion pounds overweight.
Reactioners insist that ours is the “Best Health Care in the world”
Really? How come we have more sick people in our country than any other industrialized nation??
The direct medical costs of obesity total about $147 billion annually — almost twice the amount since CDC first considered costs in 1998, and more than $50 billion more than is spent fighting cancer each year — according to a study funded by the CDC Foundation and released Monday.
Do you have to be a doctor or a statistician to see the picture?
Or do you just need to open your eyes and to pay attention?
Do you know that insurance companies tell doctors how much time they are allowed to spend with each patient? (15 minutes)
Here is this scary word, “SOCIALIZED” health care that reactionaries are trying to scare you with.
Can you explain what “socialized” means?
Do you like socialized Army, or do you prefer Blackwater type armed forces?
Firefighters, Post Office, Veterans affairs, and numerous other government services?
There is a role for the government in human societies. That is why governments are as old as human civilization.
It is just that the government should be kept in check, under control, just as private corporations should be.
In the near future, I believe that patients won’t have to wait until they’re ill in order to feel comfortable going to the doctor. Health care should be able to prevent that from happening.
Optimizing overall health is no longer a choice, it’s a responsibility.
You owe it to yourself and your family to be well enough to dance at your daughter’s wedding someday spend an amorous weekend with your spouse or hike with your grandchildren. The last 20 years of your life, you are either going to spend well or ill. There is no real in-between.
“People under financial stress don’t take care of themselves as well,” says Dr. Timothy Gardner, a cardiac surgeon and president of the AHA. “If they end up neglecting medication or skipping dental cleanings, they’re adding to their health risks.”
Pressure on families’ medical budgets has been building for decades. In 1970, U.S. spending on health care amounted to 7% of national output. By last year, it was 17%. In fact, 2008’s health outlays of $2.4 trillion exceeded our spending on housing or food.
A large proportion of the total reflects our frequent use of advanced specialty care, in which American medicine leads the world. But according to the World Health Organization, our country ranks behind 30 others in promoting the simple preventive care, good nutrition, and exercise that enable people to live longer. Average life expectancy in the United States is about 78 years, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. In Japan, it is 83 years; even Costa Rica does slightly better.
Some more statistics
• One American dies every 33 seconds from Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD)
• AHA (American Heart Assoc.) estimates for the year 2005 are that 80,700,000 people in the United States have one or more forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD):
High Blood Pressure
Coronary Heart Disease
Heart Failure
Health costs are bankrupting small businesses and even conglomerates like General Motors as well as millions of families. And it’s awful for the country. Medicare is on track to go broke by 2017, and our long-term budget problems are primarily health-cost problems. At current growth rates, health spending by the Federal Government alone would increase from 5% to 20% of the economy by 2050; Social Security, by contrast, would increase only from 5% to 6%.
One Dartmouth study found that if nationwide spending had mirrored the modest rate of that in Rochester, Minn. — where care is dominated by the renowned Mayo Clinic — Medicare would have reduced its costs for chronically ill patients by $50 billion from 2001 to 2005. As the old inflation-adjusted saying goes, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.
Health Care Revolution
There is a wellness revolution under way, where people are looking to take a more proactive approach to their own health care. An emphasis on health and wellness that focuses on the prevention rather than the mere treatment of disease is the future of healthcare.
Prevention Must Be a Priority
U.S. health care needs to shift its focus away from treating illnesses and problems and move toward prevention instead, declares Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of Health and Human Services. “We cannot achieve our ultimate goal—a healthier nation—unless we shift away from a sick-care system,” she said at a Senate hearing earlier this spring. “We pay for emergencies, not the care that prevents them, with little emphasis on the responsibility each of us has in keeping ourselves and our families well.”
Some smart employers, health plans, and medical providers are experimenting with ways to save people’s health dollars or use them more effectively. Their goal is to make it easier, even in a recession, for families to receive the care they need.
“I spend 40 percent of my time away from my patients doing paperwork and getting prior authorizations,” said Jim King, MD, a family physician in Selmer, Tenn. “We need to start taking the barriers that are between me and my patients away.”
The U.S. has a catastrophically fragmented system that provides incentives for sick care instead of prevention. The system is in dire need of reform – reform to save lives, to save families and to save money for both patients and the American health care system.
It’s time to put our health back where it belongs, out of greedy insurance companies’ grasp and back into you and your doctor’s hands. It’s time to stand with more than 450,000 doctors who support health care reform.
As we are trying desperately to break away from the “Wild West” medieval past in America – the reactionary forces are still powerful. The self preservation instinct takes over and the reactionaries are fighting for survival. They want the “Good Old Times”, the past to become the Present again.
Don’t kid yourselves. It is not about health care for them – it is self preservation, it is limbic brain in action.
My fellow Americans. Do not let them scare you into inaction!
Look around! You do not have to be a professional to see sick people around you. Open your eyes!
Do not allow yourself to get used to what you see.
The definition of insanity is when you keep doing the same thing and expect different results.
Fire your elected officials who do not want change.
No nation can be called civilized if millions of its citizens are denied basic health care.
My last question to my fellow Americans: do we want to become a civilized nation?

The way we look at things

There is a movement in this country and in the rest of the world to encourage people to take personal control of their health by educating themselves about adopting a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Will we need affordable healthcare for all?

At times, I feel that we approach life from the wrong direction.
A few examples:
Climate change
Climate is changing

1. Global warming, or perhaps global cooling, let’s just call it climate change. Is this really occurring beyond a reasonable doubt? Before we do anything to reduce pollution, should we not wait for incontrovertible proof of its existence? But, why wait? What could be bad about cleaning up our planet? Must we have hard facts indicating that current energy resources will be depleted before practicing energy conservation? Just what could be the downside in developing green energy sources?

Usually the counterargument states that these efforts “will hurt the economy.” It is my understanding that people create economies. Economies are created by people in order to make life better, in other words, in the pursuit of happiness.

Polluting the environment
Clean air

Does dirty air, water and a toxic laden environment make us happier let alone healthier? Does the chronic worry about toxins everywhere make us healthier and happier? It seems to me that the only entities which become happier and benefit from our current situations are multinational corporations.

2. Now about health care. First, people need to be educated on how to stay healthy. We all know that our country’s people are not getting healthier; cancer will soon surpass heart diseases as the main cause of death, and rates of CVD (cardio vascular disease) are skyrocketing. Diabetes has reached epidemic proportions, especially in children. I see this as the unintended result of our Western economic model spiraling out of control. The economy appears to be feeding on itself for the sake of the economy. There is a movement in this country and in the rest of the world to encourage people to take personal control of their health by educating themselves about adopting a healthy diet and a healthy lifestyle. Will we need affordable healthcare for all?

Absolutely! It is the only ethical choice.

Again, I think we are approaching the issue from the wrong side. The state of our current economy is itself very stressful, and what creates most of the stress? Money! In our country, a disproportionate amount of our people’s income is spent on medical bills.

stress factor
Stressed out

So, people get sicker due to technology, the industrialization of their food supply and chemicals in our environment. Making it even worse, people are further stressed because of the money needed for “health care.” And this just makes them sicker. It seems obvious that it would be sensible, moral and prudent to remove these stress factors. As our economy grows, trying to solve problems, it appears to be creating new ones. In short, the current economic model is not sustainable.

So, what would be the right approach? Again, what is wrong with staying healthy? We need to educate ourselves, and use technology wisely, for our sake, not for the sake of the “economy”. Do the right thing and the economy should follow. After all, the economy is supposed to function for our benefit, not the other way around. There was a saying in the USSR “we create problems and successfully overcome them.” Are we are following in their footsteps?

3. It seems to me that a significant portion of our planet’s resources is being wasted. Our economy is a consumption-based economy. We consume stuff; our economy produces more stuff to consume so we can generate income to enable us to purchase and consume more stuff. While admittedly not an economist, I can state that in the long run this continual spiral of production and consumption is unsustainable. It is just a giant Ponzi scheme. Our planet’s resources are limited. The planet’s population is growing exponentially. If we continue on a current path, we are heading toward a cliff.

Our planet’s capacity to feed its growing population is diminishing. In order to keep up with the demand, farms become technological factories overusing chemicals, utilizing genetic engineering and adopting mono-culture-based farming (corn, soy beans) . These practices create tremendous health problems for our population. Pharmaceutical companies come up with more and more drugs to deal with health issues. The use of these drugs then cause side effects creating the need for more drugs. The spiral continues.

All of the above issues are interconnected. We must understand how all these problems affect each other and how these interconnections exacerbate our problems. To keep up with growing demand, the industrial nations need more and more energy. More energy allows us to make stuff for us to consume; so we get sick; so pharmaceuticals make more drugs for us to deal with that sickness, and we just get sicker. In order to afford “healthcare” we need to consume more stuff to support the economy, and this way we just continue to poison our environment and create energy crises and an unhealthy planet

And all this is supposed to make our lives better? Because, remember, we created this economy for our benefit. So, maybe we should do things that will benefit us and “the economy” will follow. For example, our approach to healthcare and medical education should be changed from “cure” to prevention.

The Russian scientist and dissident Andrei Sakharov stated, “At the end, the moral choice, is the most pragmatic choice.”

We must do the moral thing and the economy will adopt, follow and support ethical practices.

In my opinion, if we do not change our approach to the “economy” there will be no economy.

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