- by Dr. Corey Kirshner, BioVeda Health and Wellness Center of Allentown, PA
The following letter was sent in response to a local newspaper article supporting health insurance reform.
Doesn’t Matter Which Health-Insurance Program is Passed. This is a response to Joel Mitton’s article in Wednesday, March 3, 2010 Morning Call edition.
To recap his article, he makes the argument on why we should pass health care reform now. His reasoning is that the only beneficiaries of not passing the bill are the insurance companies. He goes on to state that the US economy spent 17% on our healthcare and that the next closest countries in health care spending is Switzerland, France, Germany, Canada and Great Britain. What his article fails to to recognize is why we’re spending a significant portion of our economy on healthcare. His argument is from a shortsighted straight economic viewpoint. An interesting comparison between the countries mentioned would yield some interesting information.
Currently 10% of health-care expenditures are on obesity and obesity related diseases. In a comparison of 34 countries, the United States is 33rd in juvenile obesity with 25% considered pre-obese and 7% obese. The rest of the countries mentioned in his article ranks from the best which is Switzerland at 9% obese 2% pre-obese to the worst which is Canada at a 15% obese and 4% pre-obese. Currently United States spends 10% of its health-care dollars on obesity and obesity related issues. It estimated that by the year 2018 that number will jump to 20%. These estimates are based only on obesity and its complications such as diabetes, heart disease and other cardiovascular problems. These estimate are not based on those lifestyle choices that lead to obesity. If you start to add up the cost of the lifestyle choices that lead to obesity, and those related health issues the total health cost escalates.
To solve any problem you first need to clearly state what the problem is. The problem discussing national healthcare is first to realize we do not have a health-care system. We have a disease care system. Nowhere in the discussion of health-care reform, on both the Democrat and Republican side, is the root cause of many of our healthcare problems ever discussed. Necessity is the mother of invention. It is out of necessity resulting from our poor health choices that the “invention” of our current healthcare/disease care system has developed.
A case in my office a month ago illustrates on a microcosm level the problems we have in our current healthcare/disease care delivery system. A woman came into the office complaining of fatigue, inability to sleep, weight gain, inability to lose weight, and constipation. Any healthcare provider reading this list of symptoms would start to formulate certain ideas about what was wrong with this individual. Her medical doctor ordered bloodwork, the gastroenterologists performed a G.I. scope, the endocrinologist performed more bloodwork, and rheumatologist perform additional work. The team of physicians were trying to rule out cancer, thyroid problems, G.I. problems, arthritic problems. After all the test came back inconclusive she was referred to a psychiatrist because it was deemed her problems must be in her head.
On her first visit into this office she was asked for a diet diary. She broke down in tears as she was asked for this. She related to me that none of her other physicians ever asked her this. None of her physicians asked her how she was fueling herself. How was it possible for her to improve her health if she continued to fuel herself with junk.
What this one case illustrates is a number of problems we have in the whole health care\disease care system. It begins with the patient who has no clue, or has not been educated on what constitutes a healthy lifestyle and continue to make poor health choices. This continues with the doctors looking to label conditions in order to have a billable diagnosis. Add to this the marketing done by pharmaceutical companies to convince us we have the disease that their drug can fix. Nowhere along this line is health care ever discussed. The only discussion is disease care.
Going back to Mr. Blake’s article, frankly it doesn’t matter which health-care package we go with. If we keep on making the choices of consuming harmful obesity creating foods, and keep on raising our children on unhappy meals of french fries we will continue to feed our Disease Care Model. We as a nation have been making terrible choices. When the top three products consumed are sugar, tobacco and alcohol and we keep dumping these into our bodies we will continue to look for that elusive combination of medications to make us feel better. As long as we continue to believe the myth that help comes from a pill or a drug then the inevitable financial escalation will continue to occur. I hold no hope on a health-insurance bill based on personal responsibility. The the only choice we are left with is taking personal responsibility for our own health. I will continue to educate those who are willing to take responsibility for their health. I have the illusion that if enough of us will are willing to make the proper choices. If we don’t start making better choices in our own personal health collectively, our healthcare expenditures will continue to skyrocket.e can make a difference. As a side note the patient mentioned in this article, after changing her diet and adding a few inexpensive supplements, no longer had the symptoms which caused her to seek help.