Health Care Reform Or Not – You Pay the Same Health Care Costs Either Way

Health policy in the U.S. heavily relies on the strategy of denial. Health care costs eat up over 16% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

The typical American works two months out of every year just to cover medical treatment! Or, to put it another way, in 2007 the U.S. spent an average $7,421 per resident for health care. That same year, total medical costs were rising at 6.1% annually – far higher than the rate of GDP growth. What could you do with an extra $7,421 each year for every member of your family?

If you are healthy, you may think this cost does not apply to you. While the cost is an average, think about all the places that health care costs are hiding.

Federal income taxes – to pay for Medicaid, Medicare, and other programs

State taxes – to pay for the state’s share of Medicaid and other programs

Your health premiums – the amount you pay each month to your employer or an insurance company to cover just being insured (if you have insurance)

Your out-of-pocket costs – your part of the bill when you go to the doctor or emergency room, are admitted to the hospital, buy a prescription, or use any other health care service. If you have insurance, notice that every year you likely pay more to get less in coverage.

Part of every purchase – no matter what you buy, from an electronic gadget to clothes, school supplies, a car or bike, or food, health care costs are hidden in the purchase price. Why? For one thing, the seller has to pay taxes too, and part of its taxes goes for health care programs. Second, the seller is likely providing health care insurance to its employees, with a hefty tab skyrocketing year after year. The seller needs to cover those costs somehow, and you’ve been nominated.

Seventy five percent of the costs ($5,566 for you and each family member) go to treat people with chronic illness. In other words, those suffering from high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, asthma, Alzheimer’s, cancer, autoimmune disease, skin and eye diseases, sinusitis, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and more. The painful list goes on and on. Money is only a minor part of the human cost.

Whether or not there is health care reform will make only a tiny difference in the long run. The soaring costs are not sustainable because other parts of the economy simply can’t keep up. If costs keep mounting as they are, engulfing a bigger part of our national resources each year, it won’t matter who pays or how. Because no one will have that much money and the system will slide downhill.

The only way to permanently construct a sane health care plan is to have people make meaningful changes in their lifestyle. This means reducing the risk of getting a chronic illness.

Eating a plant-based diet of whole foods is the single most critical action you can take to lower costs and stay well enough to survive the imploding system. This choice is for you to make, not Congress. Breathe easy that you can stay largely outside the polarizing health care debate and hospitals both if you make the best lifestyle choices. And that is not as hard as you might think.

If you are already ill and need treatment, this may be of little comfort. If we drastically reduced, as a nation, the total cost of health care through better diet and other great decisions (such as quitting smoking), there will be plenty to go around to take care of each and every sick person. We won’t need to skimp on anyone.

Don’t discount the healing power of a whole foods diet. You may feel a lot better even before we get to that long-awaited day when everyone gets the highest quality care.

Will the health care system be public, private, or a little bit of both once we get costs under control? We would have the luxury of debating options at that point because we could afford to! So let’s get out of denial and start building a healthier nation now. It starts with you.

Health Care Reform Vs Health Insurance Reform

Health Care reform has been a hot item starting prior to the most recent Presidential Election.  The Obama Administration, has now moved Health Care Reform to the forefront of their agenda.  Regardless of your political affiliation, the obvious facts are that costs have continually increased over the last decade.  How should the problem(s) be resolved?

The average person who favors government intervention believes that the reform needed is with Health Insurance.  Be careful not to confuse Health Care Reform with Health Insurance Reform.  The two issues should be completely different, but it seems the Obama Administration has focused their energies in solving the Health Care Issue by focusing on Health Insurance.

While there have been few specific plans for the administration’s reform, many experts believe that the reform will involve a major involvement from the government.  While there are factions in this nation that favor a “Nationalized Health-care System”, there is equal opposition.  Unfortunately, the public divide seems to rest within the “class system”.  A majority of those families and businesses in the upper-middle to upper class oppose a nationalized system, while the lower-middle to lower class favor a Nationalized Plan.

I say to those that favor a Nationalized Plan, be wary of what you wish for!  The problem with the divide actually resides with education and communication.  Too often, those in the lower portion of the class system have been conditioned to believe the Insurance Companies are the big, bad profit mongers that cause your premiums to increase.  Let’s be frank, insurance companies are in business to make money.  However, if you take a look the profit margins within most Health Insurance Carriers, you will see that most are lucky to achieve a 10% profit.

If the problem with our the “System” is not with the Health Insurance Carriers, then where should the blame go?  Unfortunately, there is no one cause for the skyrocketing costs.  Rather, there are multitude of issues that have caused our Health Care System to become the inefficient beast you see today.  There is no one “magic” pill that will fix our system.

If you take a step back and analyze our system as whole, you have to concur that we have the BEST Health Care Services in the world.  If this were not the case, then why would the world’s wealthiest people fly around the world just to have their medical needs taken care in the United States?  The fact is, wealthy people who live in countries with Nationalized Health Care Systems do not trust those Health Care Providers with routine procedures, much less the more complex ones.

So if we can agree that the Health Care Professionals and Facilities are the best in the world, then you should further assume that those individuals providing that care are deserving of whatever money they make.  For my part, I want the guy who is about to open my chest up to perform heart surgery to be paid like a surgeon, and not a garbage man.  So how do we fix our system?

The first thing is to focus on the real problem.  The real problem is with the inefficiencies present in the system, not with the Insurance Industry.  There are cost savings available through the efficiencies that can be made through the use of technology.  By gaining the cost savings within the system itself, Health Care Providers (not the actual Professionals) do not have to charge as much money.  That means the Health Insurance Carriers do not have to pay as much to the Providers.  Guess what!  That means the Health Insurance Carriers do not have to charge as much in premium.  Finally, Joe & Jackie Blow do not have to pay as much for Health Insurance!

President Obama, focus on the real problem of fixing our system, and Health Insurance Premiums will become more affordable.

Health Care – A Populist Solution

It should be obvious by now that the U.S. health care system is not going to be happily corrected from the top down. If we truly had a free-market competitive system with many insurance companies vying for the public’s business, that should bring prices of their service down, right?

How can our President be an honest broker in a negotiation with the fabulously wealthy health insurance corporations, the pharmaceutical industry, and others who were major contributors to his election? It simply is not going to happen. These folks have spent a lot of money and time to get their corporations into a position where they have got the most profitable game in town, and — as we have seen with the heavy Wall Street influence on this administration — they are not going to be forced to give it all up, just to make the American people happy.

An article recently appeared in the newspaper by T.R. Reid, which gives a rundown of the administrative costs of various health insurance plans around the world, with ours included. The U.S. topped them all at 20% being spent on paperwork, reviewing claims, and marketing. The European countries and Canada ran about 4-6% administrative costs. Taiwan came in the lowest at 1.5%! It shouldn’t require private detective sleuthing around the corridors of power in Washington to help us figure out that Americans are under the thumb of an uncompetitive and — I may as well say it — corrupt system.

We have a system where the people with the most to gain, “gain access” to our political leaders with the help of well-connected lobbyists to get their views heard. Then, when election time rolls around, mega-contributions flow into the appropriate party’s account in return for favorable legislation that allows the corporations to maintain their strangle-hold on our shrinking American economy. It’s all a highly-ritualized dance here, but in any Third-World country the same general process is called corruption and influence-buying. The results are the same, whatever we call it.

So how do we, as a nation, break free of the hold the Health Care Industry has on our economy? It is really very simple. We must use one of the few freedoms we have left: Boycott these industries that have been overcharging us for years. And give up the naive notion that your elected representatives will negotiate a fairer deal(for you and me) with the industries that paid to put them into office.

Now, I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, “If I give up my current health insurance and something happens to me or one of my family, we’d be sunk!” You have a point, there.

It’s a shame to live in fear of something, out of your control happening to you, isn’t it? But what about the elements of your health that you CAN control? So much of our long term disability develops from simple everyday choices we make that lead to our weight gain, or whether we smoke, whether we drink too much. These are all controllable if we choose. I choose — do you?

Are you doing everything you can to reduce your need for health care? There are many peer-reviewed medical studies showing the health benefits of a primarily vegetarian diet, combined with daily cardiovascular exercise, being very effective at reducing bad cholesterol, lowering high blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, etc. Are you availing yourself and your family of these proven do-it-yourself healthcare measures?

Both Health Reimbursement and Health Savings Accounts Offer More Treatment Options and Lower Costs

If you can afford to enroll in a Health Savings Account and live with a $5000 deductible health insurance policy, this has many advantages, not the least of which is slashing the tribute you pay for unused medical care you will get through a standard health care policy. If you are in a high-risk profession where major injury is possible, then this may not work for you. For most people, however, it will.

How about we boycott the pharmaceutical drug industry to the extent we can?

Take a hard look at the prescription drugs you and your family take. How many are really necessary? In many cases, Big Pharma has just cooked up drugs that are letting you slide by without changing your unhealthy habits of eating, drinking, smoking, and not enough physical activity. They have dreamed up new “medical conditions” like GERD (gastric reflux) which in many cases is just caused by what used to be called indigestion — you ate a bunch of greasy, fatty food just before bed and, as your stomach churned and labored to digest this overly-rich mess, the stomach acid backed up your esophagus. Are you willing to stop eating like that, to save yourself money and be part of a movement to get the attention of the pharmaceutical industry?

Are you willing to quit eating pepperoni pizza for a midnight snack? What ARE you willing to do to get your freedom back from the sickness-care and prepared food industries who are getting rich off a tag team attack on your health?

In these hard times — and no, the downturn is far from over — wouldn’t it be smart to stop paying so much for fattening foods and the medical problems they cause?

Go down the list of pharmaceuticals you take, read some books on the subject of legitimate alternative diet and health practices that would make these drugs unnecessary. Then, take personal action yourself to correct the problem. I must warn you, under threat of prosecution, that if your doctor has you on statin drugs or some other major medication, that you must get the help of another doctor to help wean you off them. Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn have some good books out that can give you solid proof that what I am saying is true and do-able.

Dr. Esselstyn has a list of health care professionals on his Web site who can help transition you off many pharmaceutical meds. Another good source for this information is Dr. John McDougall — offered for free on his Web site.

It can be done, the only question is whether the American consumer of so-called health care products and services will have the courage and gumption to do anything about it. The average American has a clear choice here: to continue their comfortable habits, even though they are growing slowly fatter and sicker, or to make a stand for freedom, when all the odds are stacked against them? It won’t be easy, but nothing feels as good as freedom and trouncing a bunch of rich fat-cats who have been ripping you off for years!

Our politicians don’t care as much about our little votes as they desperately seek the huge campaign contributions of the Pharmaceutical and Health Insurance Industries. We have no power unless we learn — and we can learn — to live without most of these rip-off-priced health care services.

It will take a consumer revolt — a Boycott — over a period of time, to get the attention of the industries that own the political power in the USA.

All Big Pharma understands is the bottom line. If their sales in this country go down, they will be forced to listen and do something. (Have you read the list of side-effects? You are better off not consuming these pills anyway — there are legitimate doctors who can provide you with healthy alternatives.)

What we need to do is make it clear that Big Health Insurance is next on our boycott list

To a great extent, what I am proposing is already taking place. Many people, like me (and perhaps you, too?) are offended by the high costs and narrow options for treatment our present medical/insurance system offers, so we’re not participating. The Obama administration has made some noises about making it compulsory that everyone — Everyone?! — pay into a health insurance system, except Senators and Congressmen and -women and, of course the President. We’ll see how that goes over.

Most of the diseases that kill us and those that disable us are preventable. Our diet is the biggest source of our fatal diseases. We have been brainwashed since childhood to overlook this obvious culprit that causes us so much pain and frustration. It is up to us to start seeing the elephant in the room and retake our freedom and a large part of our personal budget back from the people who are profiting off our food-caused sickness.

The only question is, ” How much abuse will Americans take at the hands of the overpriced Health Care Industry before we stop being played for suckers?”

Stop begging the politicians for help and get healthy. It’s free! Show the Symptom-Relief industry you don’t need them any more!

Then prices will come down as we negotiate from a position of power. Cut out the middlemen — the insurance industry — and pay cash for services you want. That’s how the consumer gets a bargain in any negotiation, not by asking the federal government to add a new layer of bureaucratic expense.