Healthcare: What Business Are Ye In?
by Bill Sardi: Bankers
Doomsday Software and There Is Good Reading on Mars
A couple of
PhD analysts write about what’s wrong with American healthcare in
a recent edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Their report, entitled "What
Business Are We In?"
lead off their article by pointing to the Eastman Kodak Company
that saw itself in the film business rather than the imaging business
and after 131 years in business, filed for bankruptcy in January
So they write:
"The analogous situation in health care is that whereas doctors
and hospitals focus on producing health care, what people really
want is health. Health care is just a means to that end – and an
increasingly expensive one. If we could get better health some other
way, just as we can now produce images without film….., then maybe
we wouldn't have to rely so much on health care."
With this revelation,
that modern healthcare needs to rethink what business it is in,
comes the concession that maybe modern medicine doesn’t deserve
all of the accolades it receives. The PhD-analysts say it best:
"the evidence does suggest that health care as conventionally
delivered explains only a small amount – perhaps 10% – of premature
deaths as compared with other factors, including social context,
environmental influences, and personal behavior."
But do we really
see the end of doctoring? The American people have fallen sucker
for the sales pitch, that America has the best healthcare in the
world, and they want more of it, regardless of whether it works
or not. Many Americans feel they paid into a system (Medicare) and
they want what they paid for. They want the miracle drugs, the CAT-scans,
the robotic surgery, all of it, as long as it doesn’t have to be
paid out of their own pocket. They can’t imagine that that healthcare
system cannot possibly deliver on its promises to provide more and
more high-technology medicine to a growing population of aging Americans.
There will be a default, call it rationing, but from a different
quarter, as I will explain momentarily.
But then these
PhDs get side tracked. They somehow believe better monitoring (snooping)
will produce better health. A major aspect of the type of healthcare
reform being thrust upon doctors is electronic medical records.
Just how does electronic charting improve health? It doesn’t, but
it allows overseers to see if a doctor is prescribing according
to establish guidelines, guidelines often written by Big Pharma.
We already have an over-medicated society. This is just another
evidence of growing fascism in medicine.
The PhDs ask:
"What do we need to move from a product-oriented industry to
a customer-oriented one?" No, they didn’t get their own message.
Modern medicine is the problem, not the solution. Modern medicine
is not going to take money out of its own hands. The solutions are
going to come from an entirely different quarter. Neither did Kodak
see the handwriting on the wall. The only way to reform medicine
and bring down its obscene costs is to create alternatives, just
like Kodak succumbed to digital cameras. The problem is, alternative
medicine has not fared much better. It still is mired in Ouija-board
medicine (alkaline diets, "muscle testing," and a variety
of still unproven nostrums). While alternative medicine now garners
about a third of healthcare dollars, all it has done is add more
costs as confused patients now partake of both conventional and
alternative medicine. They take Lipitor, Metformin and Xanax along
with fish oil, vitamin C and whatever the latest herbal craze is.
The PhDs do
point in the right direction when they say: "One signal is
that while much of recent U.S. medical practice proceeds as if health
and disease were entirely biologic, our understanding of health's
social determinants has become deeper and more convincing. An enormous
body of literature supports the view that differences in health
are determined as much by the social circumstances that underlie
them as by the biologic processes that mediate them." They
point to British civil servants whose health status increases with
their civil-service grade.
In a prior
column about healthcare reform I wrote that American wages have
stagnated. Pay raises were traded for increased health insurance
premiums paid by employers.
health. People with extra dollars can purchase better quality food,
vitamins, and tend to be more literate and therefore savvy about
producing health at home. The irony here is that the people who
can least afford modern medicine tend to be its best customers,
while wealthier and better educated tend to seek alternative treatments
(think of Steve Jobs in his battle with pancreatic cancer).
this with the recent revelation that 46%
of American retirees solely rely on a Social Security check.
Over-priced American healthcare stole their pay raises and left
them penniless in their retirement! (The PhDs missed this point.)
There is no freedom to choose. Most retirees have to take what Medicare
pays for, and it certainly doesn’t pay for vitamin supplements or
healthy food. Herded like cattle, retirees take more and more problematic
and ineffective medicines without recognizing these pharmacological
elixirs are causing more problems than their diseases.
There may be
no way out of this mess short of altering the food chain, eliminating
cheap sugars (high fructose corn syrup), taste enhancers (MSG),
hormonized meat, hydrogenated fats, iron-fortified breakfast cereals,
and cheap food that is centered on carbohydrates (pasta, rice, bread,
beans). Greater advances in health status will come from improving
the American food chain than in any doctoring. But don’t bet on
Kraft or Archer Daniels Midland leading the way either. All the
promotion of healthy foods is completely undone by TV advertising
for snack foods. Pringles are not going to disappear.
One of the
more startling reports I have read is the recent revelation that
the diabesity epidemic that America has spawned appears to emanate
from the earliest days of life when infants are programmed to be
women are not given to the inconvenience of breast feeding. While
an estimated 74% start out with good intentions, only
33% of moms exclusively breast feed at three months of age and only
14% exclusively breast feed at six months. The selection of
an alternative to breast milk may doom a child’s future health.
A recent study reveals that cow’s milk infant formulas provide an
excessive amount of leucine, an
amino acid that genetically re-programs a child towards obesity.
Cow’s milk is intended to build a newborn calf into a 1000-pound
at Temple University have said: "Obesity, Type 2 diabetes,
asthma, autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity
disorder have increased at rates that cannot be due to changes in
the genetic structure of the population, and are difficult to ascribe
to changes in diagnostic criteria or ascertainment." What they
have discovered is that modern environmental factors, in particular
foods but also other chemicals in baby bottles (bisphenol A), teething
rings, even toys, are
genetically reprogramming a generation of diseased children outside
of their own control.
How will modern
medicine respond to this sad discovery? Will pediatricians warn
mothers away from cow’s milk formulas? Don’t bet on it. Modern medicine
will revel in the fact there is more disease to treat and collect
more insurance money.
genes are not static. The discovery that genes can be re-programmed
of these genetic tendencies can be undone. The French found
a way. Their traditional fattier
diet and dark aged red wine reprograms the human body way from
abdominal obesity. The heart healthy diets and empty-calorie diets
proposed by modern medicine are not effective. A
study of why people living in 32 towns in Spain were far healthier
(half as much obesity, far lower mortality from heart disease) among
1822 Spanish towns surveyed found that high fish intake and wine
consumption were strongly related to this healthy pattern. (The
lesson here is study health, not disease.) And there is evidence
that small molecules known as polyphenols, found in grapes, wine,
tea, coffee and cocoa help to genetically
program the body towards health and less disease.
modern medicine is not going to recommend anything where it is shoved
out of the picture. But that is exactly what needs to be done. Less
doctoring, not more. If you want to remain healthy you need to learn
how to skirt around the present healthcare system. Humans can be
re-programmed to be healthy by their foods and dietary supplements,
not doctor-prescribed drugs.
Will this happen?
The Western disease-promoting
diet can be changed. But don’t bet on social change. Yet it
is a fact that the mortality rate for coronary heart disease has
in America from 240 per 100,000 in the 1990s to less than 200 per
100,000 today at the same time wine
consumption has risen dramatically. Is it just a coincidence
that the unhealthiest
metro areas of the U.S. just happen to be the areas
of the lowest consumption of wine? Should this ever be fully
realized, wine will rival gold as an item of value.
him mail] is a frequent writer on health and political
topics. His health writings can be found at www.naturalhealthlibrarian.com.
latest book is Downsizing
© 2012 Bill Sardi Word of Knowledge Agency, San Dimas, California.
This article has been written exclusively for www.LewRockwell.com
and other parties who wish to refer to it should link rather than
post at other URLs.
Best of Bill Sardi