Health Care Debate:  How to Control Costs and Insure everyone

Over the past few months, I have noticed a lot of people are talking on T.V., on public radio (www.NPR.org) , in movies, in the Senate, House of Representatives, the White House and in the community about health care reform, national health insurance and what can be done about it; how can we get health care to all our citizens and control costs.  There are people talking about it from many angles.  I’ve seen excellent viewpoints from sources as varied as movies, Food Inc (www.foodincmovie.com)  Sweet Misery (http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-6551291488524526735) , and Bananas (http://www.bananasthemovie.com/) and the former editor-in-chief of the New England Journal of Medicine and retired M.D. Arnold Relman (http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=106470889)  as well as Jeff Bland, PhD lead scientist from Metagenics http://www.metagenics.com/pdf/publications/200903%20bland%20-%20reforming%20the%20us%20health%20care%20system.pdf and they all have very good ideas.

I think we need a multi-faceted approach, which includes all of these viewpoints which I’ll summarize below:
1.  Removing the Profit from healthcare – Insurance company CEO’s don’t need to make 100’s of millions of dollars a year.  Elizabeth Edwards has been quoted as saying that one year, out of every $700 spent on healthcare in the United States, $1 went to the CEO of United Health Care insurance company.  If you google “pay rate of health care CEO’s” you will see that each of these CEO’s make over $100 million / year.  We need to take this kind of profit out of the health care business.  Perhaps insurance companies need to go away as Dr. Relman believes.
2.  We need to quit poisoning our population; Estimates are that 21 million Americans now have type II diabetes (8% of the population) and many more have pre-diabetes.  The Centers for Disease Control,(CDC) estimates are that one in three children born in 2000 will be diabetic (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2003/06/14/eveningnews/main558728.shtml) . This is directly related to the food we eat.  The movies above describe how this happened and how we can reverse it.  If we don’t reverse it there is no way we can control health care costs, but more importantly we’ll be killing off our kids!  As a nation, we absolutely need to change the “food” we’re putting in our bodies.
3.   We need to change the way we treat the 80% of people who now see doctors for chronic diseases.  The current medical model does not work. The pharmaceutical industry spends over $5 billion dollars on advertising a year for medicine that at best controls some symptoms but does nothing to fix the problems. Chronic diseases are directly related to lifestyle and reversing these diseases has been done and written up in peer reviewed medical journals.  This is not new information.  This is known and well documented.  Many M.D.s and other health care practitioners are using these “Lifestyle Change Programs” to actually cure chronic diseases ranging from heart disease, diabetes, and auto-immune conditions.  You can read about this research at www.metagenics.com and there is a newsletter on the implications of diet and disease at http://www.theburnhamreview.com/Mission_Hills_Gluten.html

So there it is!  I find hope in the fact that these ideas are reaching the mainstream and ending up in a lot of people’s conversations and debates.  Please share your views and Vote with your $ for food, and healthcare decisions!

My best to you all

Ralph Havens, PT, OCS, IMTC
www.missionhillspt.com

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