Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Health Care Reform May Kill Us

Health Care Reform will not make us healthier as a nation, and in fact may make us less healthy as a nation.  Yes sir (or m'am) it's true.  This new thing called Obamacare our country will most likely experience in the coming few years will not fix our health crisis.  And, it will most likely create more problems for us, including health problems.  Why is that?  I'm glad you asked.  Read on.

First of all, and I think I've said this before here, what is being promoted as health care reform, is NOT health care reform.  The term has a nice ring to it so it's the one that is used.  What is being bandied about as health care reform is actually health INSURANCE reform. And mostly, it's health insurance COVERAGE reform.  The goal is to assure health INSURANCE for the masses.  A ideal goal in it's purest form for sure.  Unfortunately, the main winner in this whole deal will be health INSURANCE COMPANIES.  They WILL be paid for covering more people.  And guess who pays?

Well, there are two ways insurance companies can get paid.  1.  By raising the premiums, copays, and or deductibles on all of us that pay for our insurance (hey they've been doing that all along, while paying health care providers less and less).  2.  The government will pay them.  (how does the government get the money to pay them when we as a nation are teetering on economic collapse you say?  hmm, just think on that for a bit).  Rest assured, they will get paid for the extra coverage.  So the winner in the whole health care reform thing is not the American people. It's not the health care providers   It's the insurance companies.  Feeling better yet?  The CEO's of the insurance companies are I'm sure.

So how can this kill us? (I will refrain from political lines of thought on this).  Unfortunately, it's very simple.  So, every American will now have coverage (ideally).  Great!  Now we can have access to all the drugs and surgery we need when we need them. Awesome.  Why do we need drugs and surgery?  Because of some kind of health crisis in our lives.  From where do most health crisis moments arise?  Most arise from our....choices.  Ouch.  Yes, most of the diseases that require ongoing care (drugs and/or surgery) are known as diseases of lifestyle.  Sure, some people are born with health issues (cerebral palsy, Down's syndrome etc), but most are diseases that arise from our choices in how we eat, move think and rest.  For instance, more and more studies are coming out showing that our lifestyle choices can significantly affect, and often times cure, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.  I see more articles than ever speaking of how Type II diabetes is totally curable with lifestyle changes.  Heart disease can be reversed by lifestyle changes.  All good news.

But my fear is, with easier access to drugs and surgery, people will be even less likely to take appropriate care of themselves than we already do.  We already look for the easy way out, the pill for every ill.  Every year we see new meds or supplements designed for weight loss, and the public runs to them as the panacea for their ills.  No one in our government is sounding the bell for wellness.  No one is standing up to fight against the special interests that shape our policy on health and well being.  No one there mentions that the government recommendations for diet include things that actually CREATE more illness and disease (read my previous post about "healthy whole grains").  No one there  mentions that our nation is sick, and our health care system is actually a sick care system that functions to provide after the fact care, and that their version of wellness care is NOT wellness care at all.  Instead, they opt to create something that will sound and sell better, instead of handling the tougher topic that would solve the issue.

Real health care reform occurs in your home.  It occurs when you change your lifestyle to a wellness way of living.  It occurs when you raise your kids to not run to a drug every time they are sick.  It occurs when you sound the bell of wellness and let others know there's a better way.  In other words, it's not up to the government to create health care reform. It's up to us.  Any other way only kills.

Until next time...Be Well!
Dr. Bruce


  1. There are two distinct issues going on here.

    I agree with you that healthcare reform needs to begin at home, with attention to what we "eat, move, think and rest."

    That is not in conflict with the political healthcare reform going on now, and you are also right that it is not the focus of the legislation.

    The insurance companies will be healthy, but they are not the big winners you describe. The biggest winners here are the millions of Americans who until one year ago had no access to healthcare. People with "pre-existing conditions" like pregnancy, or genetic illnesses, or who had ever been given an anti-depressant.

    The reason everyone is being enrolled in health insurance is in order to get agreement from the insurance companies to carry people with cancer, heart disease, kidney disease, etc. Up to now those people -- who need insurance the most -- were being systematically dropped by their insurance companies.

    Insurance is not entirely about access to drugs. I agree with you that Americans rely too much on "sick care" and drugs. And yes, we need to change that.

    And as a first step, just getting most Americans into a position where they dare to go to the doctor, or where they can get the testing needed to provide them with an accurate diagnosis and a tailored health plan -- that is an enormous step forward.

    We all need to pay better attention to our health, and working with a practitioner such as yourself would be a great move.

    What Obamacare is working first to fix is ACCESS TO CARE -- not only for children in this country, but also for adults and anyone who needs attention.

    It is NOT advocating that people take pills. it is advocating that someone who has an automobile accident will not be bankrupted by the medical bills, or that a family with a child with Down's syndrome or any of 7000 rare diseases will not be bankrupted by the experience.

    And at the same time, in addition to simple access, we also need to shift America's focus from drugs and remedies to prevention and healthy eating.

    Best wishes,
    Joyce Graff
    Powerful Patient