health

The health insurance problem is not an insurance problem, it is a health problem

Wednesday, February 02, 2005
by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger
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When people start talking about health insurance reform and how to bring health insurance to the American people, they inevitably end up in a ridiculous discussion about how to negotiate the cost of drugs, how to provide drug discounts to senior citizens, or how to engage in a system of managed care that denies medical services to certain groups. It's all a rather useless exercise in shifting paperwork, blame, or money from the pockets of one organization to another. And in the end, it helps no one.

Health insurance reform needs to focus on the health, not the insurance, because you can never solve a problem by shifting paperwork to another party or bu denying services to an ever-expanding group of people. It's similar to the way in which the federal government wants to solve social security: just keep raising the qualification age until it's so high that almost nobody lives that long. How's that for security? "If you live long enough, we'll even pay you back all the money you worked for!"

In the realm of health insurance, we need to start talking about disease prevention. The only way we're going to lower the costs in the long run is if we make our population healthier. And the only way we're going to make people healthier is if we start admitting the truth about the detrimental health effects of prescription drugs, processed foods, junk foods, soft drinks, lack of physical exercise and so on, and then start educating people about how to take control of their health and reduce their risk of ever experiencing chronic disease. That's how you solve the health insurance problem: by making people healthy. What a novel idea, huh?

Right now people are getting all the wrong messages about their health. They are being told that unhealthy foods are good for them. The FDA has approved health claims that mislead consumers into thinking things like sugary oatmeal is good for your heart because it contains oats. It's a ridiculous claim. And yet the legitimate food claims -- like olive oil prevents breast cancer, garlic prevents cancer, raw nuts prevent heart disease -- are not allowed at all. In fact, those are outlawed by the FDA. So today we have a regulatory environment that actually prevents people from learning the truth about foods that could help prevent disease. Thank goodness the FDA is protecting us from all those dangerous health claims!

When was the last time the FDA ever allowed the claim that blueberries reduce LDL cholesterol? You'll never see that claim because the blueberry companies aren't going to engage in the corruption, bribery, and political influence that would normally be required for the FDA to approve something. Blueberries are just blueberries. They are straight from nature. They are healthy. And they actually lower bad cholesterol and improve cardiovascular health regardless of whether or not the FDA allows such a claim.

Getting back to health insurance, you have to remember that the health insurance business is just that a business. There are a lot of people making money pushing paper, providing unnecessary medical procedures to the public and selling prescription drugs over and over again to people who are undoubtedly suffering from downright fatal side effects from the long-term consumption of such drugs. It's big business and thus there is no real financial incentive for anyone to reform the way health insurance works right now. Let's face it: sick people generate revenues. It doesn't mean there's some evil conspiracy behind it all, it just means that there's no financial incentive to teach people how to be healthy.

Who makes money if people get healthier? Well, nobody does! The only people who benefit from widespread health are the individuals themselves. In fact, billions of dollars in profits would be lost by Big Pharma if the country were suddenly swept up by a wave of health. So don't look for any serious health insurance or health care reform in your lifetime. Nearly every public discussion about these topics is nothing but sleight of hand designed to distract you from the real problem, which is the disease-care industry and food & beverage industries that have no incentive to help people get healthier.

Here's a final question in all of this: Why is it that other countries can provide meaningful, full coverage health insurance for their entire population at the equivalent of about $25/month? Of course, I am referring to Taiwan. A country that provides full service health coverage for only $25/month. And that includes maternity care, dental care, everything! And it's the same $25 whether you're 16 or 60, regardless of your health history. You can't be disqualified as long as you're a Taiwan citizen.

Yet in the United States, some people are being charged $1000 per month for only partial coverage. Why is that? Because health insurance is extremely inefficient. Probably 80-90% of the money that goes into health insurance is falling into the pockets of people who do nothing but push paper around. It's not going to the bottom line services that people really need. And virtually none of it is going to disease prevention education or public advertising campaigns that would inform people about how to take charge of their own health and prevent chronic disease.

So all of this money is just going down a black hole. It's utterly wasted. And today, the money spent on health care comprises a significant portion of G&P. Something like $1 out of every $4 spent in this country is spent on health care. We've also just learned that 50% of all personal bankruptcies in the United States are caused by medical bills. Think about that for a moment: the disease-care industry is bankrupting our families and our nation. Only a fool would think the answer is to introduce a drug discount card or some other such nonsense. That's like tossing a cup of water on a raging house fire.

We don't need to be spending 25% of our G&P on health insurance and health care services. What we should be doing is spending something like 3% of the G&P on disease prevention and education. If we were to do that, within one generation we could slash our health care costs to perhaps 1/20th of what we're spending today. And that would bring a significant enhancement in quality of life for everyone.

If you want to pay off the national debt, take the money you would save from health care and pay down the national debt with it. The quality of life would go up, the debt would go down, and within a generation, we could be a nation of healthy, debt-free individuals, rather than the nation we are now, which is regrettably the most diseased population in the history of the world combined with the greatest national debt ever witnessed in the history of the United States of America.

It took some real short-term thinking to put us in this mess. And it's going to take some tough choices to pull us out of it. Frankly, I'm not sure the politicians and voters have the will to make any tough choices at all. As long as their drugs are paid for by insurance, and as long as Medicare covers Viagra, they're sufficiently sedated to prevent any real cry for reform.

That's part of what prescription drugs really accomplish, by the way: the keep the population doped up in a never-ending state of brain fog from which it is impossible to rally enough people to demand real reform. Think about it: according to a new study published in The Lancet, the Vioxx drug alone seems to have killed as many as 60,000 Americans. Where's the outcry? Where are the demonstrations? The marches on Washington? The declaration of war against Big Pharma? If terrorists killed 60,000 Americans, we'd be bombing yet another nation into dust. If an herb killed 60,000 Americans, the FDA would be screaming about how we have to regulate all herbs to "protect the people!" If a virus killed 60,000 Americans, we'd call it one of the worst outbreaks since the 1918 bird flu outbreak.

But when a prescription drug kills 60,000 people, the FDA is all but silent. The CEO of a drug company warns us not to "overreact." The newspaper headlines dedicate their space to the Michael Jackson trial. The politicians argue about whether cell phones should be banned on the road. And, don't forget, the Superbowl is coming, too! Apparently, there are a lot more important things on the minds of Americans than the fact that 60,000 of their family members, neighbors and loved ones have been killed by just one drug. And hundreds of thousands more are killed each year by other drugs, medical mistakes, failed surgical procedures and the like.

What kind of society has this become anyway? Has this population been so dumbed down, doped up and brainwashed by pharma-funded TV advertisements that it can't see the crimes against humanity taking place right before our very eyes? We get front-page news and priority cable coverage when twelve people die in a train wreck. But when 5,000 times as many people die from a prescription drug, there's no news coverage at all. Silence.

And you know why? Because it all happens quietly. In hospital beds, family rooms, and ambulances. Each victim slips away quietly, and their death certificate gets recorded with the phrase, "natural causes." There's no footage to show on the evening news. No sound bite. No wreckage. No explosion. No guided missiles or embedded war footage. So it isn't newsworthy, apparently.

And, of course, there's the fact that most of the news organizations in this country are beholden to the drug companies for their financial lifeline (advertising). Don't discount the power of half a billion dollars to influence the day's news. What news organization would possibly want to expose the pharmaceutical catastrophe and risk angering their top advertisers?

In looking at what's really happening today, I'm astonished. It's beyond outrage, really. I'm just astonished that people will take this treatment and think of it as normal. Maybe it's the fluoride in the water supply. Maybe it's the brain-busting hydrogenated oils in the foods, or the MSG found throughout every grocery store in the country. Maybe it's all the TV programming. Or maybe you, me, and a handful of other people who read this site have been time-warped into bizarro world where all the laws of sanity have been reversed, and someone put the most insane people of all in charge.

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About the author: Mike Adams is a natural health researcher, author and award-winning journalist with a passion for teaching people how to improve their health He has authored and published thousands of articles, interviews, consumers guides, and books on topics like health and the environment, and he has authored and published several downloadable personal preparedness courses including a downloadable course focused on safety and self defense. Adams is an independent journalist with strong ethics who does not get paid to write articles about any product or company. In 2010, Adams co-founded NaturalNews.com, a natural health video sharing site that has now grown in popularity. He also launched an online retailer of environmentally-friendly products (BetterLifeGoods.com) and uses a portion of its profits to help fund non-profit endeavors. He's also a veteran of the software technology industry, having founded a personalized mass email software product used to deliver email newsletters to subscribers. Adams is currently the executive director of the Consumer Wellness Center, a 501(c)3 non-profit, and regularly pursues cycling, nature photography, Capoeira and Pilates. Known on the 'net as 'the Health Ranger,' Adams shares his ethics, mission statements and personal health statistics at www.HealthRanger.org

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