What we call health care is a bad deal for the consumer. The name alone is a lie. It should be called "sickness care" or even "sickness facilitation " because, for those who are covered, it tricks them into placing the responsibility for their health on their doctor. This is a big mistake.
We are each individually in charge of our own health. How can the doctor be at our side all day and night to counsel us to "Put that cigarette out!" or "Don't eat that cheeseburger! Remember your high cholesterol!" By the time we are forced to go in to the clinic by some scary symptom, we are already in trouble. It is too late for health care -- now it's time for drugs and scalpels.
Depending on a doctor for information on preserving your health is like closing your barn door after your horse has escaped. It's too late for doing the easy, inexpensive course of action. Now, you're in for it!
So, forget about health care. Health care is not about health. It is all about getting you back on the factory floor or back in your cubicle, ready to work, so you can keep paying your premiums. It is about extracting as much money as the law allows by sending you in for tests, which you may or may not need. It is about selling you prescription drugs that you are instructed to take for the rest of your life -- drugs that counter the effects of your bad food choices, for example.
Doctor: "The lab tells me you haven't brought your cholesterol down with a change of diet and exercise since the last time I saw you, John. What I can do -- to get you down into a safe range for your LDL -- is give you a prescription for Lipitor."
Patient: "Sorry, Doc. I just can't give up my favorite foods -- eating's the only pleasure I have left after the wife left me. And taking walks around the block just isn't my style."
Doctor: "That's fine, John. We'll try Lipitor, then, and see how that works for you. Schedule a follow-up appointment with my staff before you leave. Call me if you have any problems."
Health care is a rip-off because:
It doesn't address the real problems that cause most of our illnesses (Namely: our diet, smoking, excessive drinking, and lack of exercise)
By the time we begin to have symptoms of some disease, it is usually too late for inexpensive intervention
Most of what ails us, we bring on ourselves -- to correct the after-effects of this is an enormous task...So health care is really not about caring for our health, it's about facilitating our bad behavior and then extracting as much money as possible from whatever source -- the patient, the employer, or the taxpayers in general
Out-of-control malpractice claims, together with the need for doctors to keep their high-tech diagnostic equipment in use, have encouraged doctors to order many unnecessary and expensive tests
When the federal government got involved is when costs skyrocketed (with the advent of Medicare in 1965)
Setting the whole complicated mess under the thumb of the insurance industry added another layer of bureaucratic expense and the need for ever-increasing profitability because these are publicly owned corporations that are expected by the stockholders to show improved profits every quarter
This distorts the quality of care and gives incentive to finding new services to sell. It's all about the bottom line, not about the health of the patient anymore.
Our health insurance system, by itself, adds 20% to the cost of the medical services provided. Other countries have better health results for 1.5-6% administration costs! We're being over-charged, plain and simple.
The pharmaceutical industry charges markups of 2000-30,000% of the ingredients in the drugs they sell. Fifty percent of their costs are not for research and development(much of which is subsidized by the taxpayers), but for their marketing expenses -- everything from fancy dinners for doctors who sell lots of their medicines, to the many two and three page ads in magazines urging patients to "Ask your doctor if Dynofab is right for you," to all-expenses-paid trips to Hawaii to educate doctors on that company's latest prescription drugs.
In the end, we all must pay for the rich system of perks and comforts of those who have been entrusted with our health. Or, we must find out for ourselves how to maintain our own health.
With the present system, the public is not clearly shown how to prevent disease, nor how to maintain optimum health for a long successful life. We are encouraged to turn this sacred task over to others, many of whom know little about how to maintain health and a great deal about ways to make a lot of money by shunting patients through a labyrinth of tests, drugs, and procedures at a substantial profit for the providers, even if the patient doesn't survive it all.
To be fair to doctors, very few of them know much about how to preserve health through intelligent nutrition. They only live to an average age of 57, while their patients live an average of 75 years, more or less. So, doctors are not experts on health -- it is more accurate to call them sales agents for drugs, diagnostic tests, and surgery.
Asking Congress to negotiate us a better deal is foolish. The wise consumer will find and implement a comprehensive program to protect their own health, so they will not find themselves begging for medical care at the end of their life. Without knowledge, the consumer has no power in the negotiation for a fair deal.
All the unsophisticated, unhealthy consumer can expect is a rip-off when they are forced to beg Congress for affordable health care. Who would like to break the news to them?
Paul H. Kemp is a lifelong entrepreneur, writer, and amateur athlete with a passion for exposing the secrets of health and longevity. For more information on a diet and healthy lifestyle designed to prevent and even reverse chronic degenerative diseases, visit his Web site: http://www.HealthyPlanetDiet.com/.
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