The Growing War Between Modern Medicine and the Public
by Bill Sardi by Bill Sardi
Everybody is talking about health-care reform, but true reform is clearly out of the question. Like the banks and the automobile manufacturers, the health-care system should be allowed to collapse without a government bailout. But the federal government has been bailing out the failed health-care industry all along.
Tom Daschle, the newly appointed health policy adviser to President-elect Barack Obama, and soon to be Health and Human Services secretary, says the U.S. health-care system is in need of a major overhaul, and most agree, but it appears the government will continue to expand insurance coverage for a broken health-care system, paying for more unproven and even disproven treatments.
Moreover, government intends to expand health insurance coverage for millions of Americans, which will surely increase demand for services at a time when there is a shortage of primary care doctors.
Won’t expanded coverage ($2500 per uninsured American) prompt many families to drop their existing insurance plans and attempt to qualify for the new government plan, thus causing the whole program to implode with burgeoning costs? Furthermore, the federal government estimates about 40 million Americans are uninsured, but this figure is likely to grow by millions in the current economic downturn. How does government intend to rein in health-care costs and at the same time increase utilization?
Job creation is now paramount in the incoming Administration. Long term, planners are counting on the Baby Boomers getting older and sicker, thus creating new jobs in the health-care arena. Americans had better get sick on time, and develop chronic diseases that require more and more health care, so more Americans can be employed as nurses, nurse’s aides, home health aides, etc.
How does a nation significantly reduce health-care costs and yet plan on increased employment in the health-care industry? This is the moral crux for American medicine. Should Americans become healthier and need less health care, there will be fewer jobs. Maybe this is why modern medicine drags its feet when it comes to preventive medicine.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, among all occupations in the economy, health-care occupations are expected to make up 7 of the 20 fastest growing occupations, the largest proportion of any occupational group. These health-care occupations, in addition to exhibiting high growth rates, will add nearly 750,000 new jobs between 2006 and 2016, according to government projections. More than 3 out of every 10 new jobs created in the U.S. economy are predicted to be in either the health-care and social assistance or public and private educational services sectors. What if these jobs never materialize?
The federal government will soon be unable to meet its obligations to provide health care for retirees. The Medicare program will default on $62 trillion of care it promised to deliver to aging Baby Boomers, beginning in 2012. The only foreseeable way out of this problem is to reduce demand for care by prolonging the health span (years of healthy, unimpaired, unmedicated life) before age-related diseases set in. A delay of 7 years before the onset of age-related disease would save the Medicare program from bankruptcy.
The increased life expectancy of Americans has largely been achieved over the past century by reductions in childhood mortality. Now the focus is on reduction of mortality rates among senior Americans, adding more healthy years to the end of life.
The prospect for an anti-aging pill that can slow aging is not a pipe dream. A few years ago the Rand Corporation think-tank, addressing future technologies that may impact Medicare, added an "anti-aging" pill to the future Medicare budget. Health planners know such a technology may soon become a reality.
These pills could stave off the onset of disease, even quell infections without conventional antibiotics, and may actually prevent many diseases rather than a pill for every different disease. Such a pill may not emanate from a pharmaceutical laboratory. It may come from nature.
A growing body of scientific evidence which shows that dietary supplementation with vitamin D, fish oil, and molecules found in red wine (resveratrol, quercetin, ferulic acid, etc.) and bran (whole grains), may reduce the need for medical care altogether. Dr. Bruce Ames of the University of California at Berkeley suggests the higher prevalence of disease among the poor emanates from undernutrition, a problem that could be remedied with an inexpensive multivitamin.
There is concern that with a poor economy and growing unemployment, more Americans will choose cheap, less nutrient-dense foods, which may increase the incidence of disease. This would increase the need for food fortification and dietary supplementation.
Europeans visiting America are shocked to see so many overweight Americans. Never do Americans realize, unlike other nations, they are being intentionally bred to overeat. The medical profession does little to stop this, treating all dietary-related diseases as if they are drug deficiencies.
Processed foods are adulterated with taste stimulants and other ingredients that create more hunger by raising insulin resistance. Insulin that can’t enter cells to produce energy, disengages satiation. This is one way food producers increase their sales, by getting Americans to eat more food.
The government is complicit in spawning the diabesity epidemic by subsidizing the production of non-nutrient-dense foods and high-fructose corn syrup, and promoting a "food pyramid" that suggests Americans consume more food, not less (17—23 servings a day), and many servings of meat, processed gains and dairy products which foster obesity.
It is obvious that modern medicine is an industry that wants more, not less, disease to treat. Patients are aware that doctors aren’t interested in disease prevention. Conventional medicine is quick to dismiss any truly preventive therapies as unproven and requiring more study. A current hidden agenda is to publish pseudo-science in medical journals so nutritional approaches to disease prevention can be dismissed as not being "evidence based."
Yet, by comparison, there are very few treatments in modern medicine that are truly "evidence based."
For example, statin anti-cholesterol drugs are approved by the FDA even though they don’t reduce mortality rates and prevent a non-mortal heart attack in less than 1 in 100 healthy adults.
Add flu shots to the list of disproven therapies. They have not been shown to reduce mortality from flu-related illness among high-risk groups (young children and older adults.) The cervical cancer vaccine has not saved one life, and may never do so, and may produce nothing more than side effects (9,749 adverse reactions and 21 reported deaths related to this vaccine in the last two years).
There are no proven cures for cancer, and radiation and chemotherapy cannot even penetrate solid tumors, which represent 70—90% of cancers, but patients are never told this. There is no way chemotherapy can work because tumor resistance is inevitable and it destroys the immune system. A published study shows chemotherapy only contributes to the 5-year survival of cancer patients 2.3% of the time. (Would you return to an automobile repair shop that only fixed your car less than 3% of the time?) Chemotherapy is approved by the FDA if it temporarily shrinks a tumor by 50%, not if it prolongs survival. Who can blame cancer patients for searching for unproven alternatives? Chemo and radiation therapy have been disproven.
It has been said that the only technologies that have been validated in modern medicine are the repair of bone fractures, the repair of teeth, and the removal and replacement of cloudy cataracts with clear lens implants.
It’s no wonder a whopping 38% of American adults (12% of children) have opted for alternative medicine, says a newly released study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics. Where else can the public turn? But this statistic is thrown out as if it is evidence of a mindless public that elects to choose unproven therapies over FDA-approved drugs and devices. Yet studies show the most educated citizens utilize alternative medicine. Americans elect to choose alternatives because conventional medicine is ineffective, even hazardous, and is simply beyond affordability.
Many patients are belittled when they tell their doctors they are taking dietary supplements in lieu of problematic prescription drugs. Under the guise that dietary supplements may interfere with prescription drugs (actually, it’s the other way around), the National Institutes of Health has conjured up a program to encourage patients to "confess" to their doctors that they are taking dietary supplements. The vitamin pill inquisition is underway.
Modern medicine realizes it has lost market share to alternative medicines. Americans are increasingly distrustful of prescription medicines, reading daily news reports of people dying needlessly from side effects from FDA-approved drugs. According to a Harris Poll (2005), 35% of Americans who were prescribed drugs didn’t take them because they wanted to save money and another 28% left their drugs on the medicine shelf because of "frightening side effects."
More Americans are going to have to find ways to stay healthy outside of running to the doctor for everything that ails them. The health-care system, and the insurance system, won’t be there for them. An unorganized self-care revolution is now in progress, which proceeds largely without doctor guidance or cooperation. More Americans are shunning problematic and overpriced prescription medications for vitamin and herbal supplements. The National Health Federation is leading that effort.
It is becoming increasingly clear that conventional medicine is working at odds against the public welfare. Yet, with the realization that American medicine is a broken system, Americans inexplicably return to the doctor’s office for more of the same. Those Americans who don’t learn self-care are going to suffer the most in this ongoing collapse of modern health care.
Bill Sardi [send him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com. He is the author of You Don’t Have To Be Afraid Of Cancer Anymore.