Writing for www.CalamityPolitics.com allows me a grass root platform to discuss health care, and every other area of our political spectrum, for that matter, it does not give me the right to say anything I want about the issues. With that said, I have ground level experience in health care.
Because of that experience and exposure to trench warfare in hospital health care I have formed many opinions on client service and the care we provide our clients. Further, I have a passionate interest in health care, and in this area, I believe my street level experience with the issues facing the health care system in the U.S., gives me the right to discuss the issues. I have some common sense thinking on health care. I am an RN, and have worked for 36 years in hospitals in Oregon, Washington, California and Nevada.
My two primary areas of specialty were Crisis Psychiatry and Intensive Care. Whether the issues are mental, behavioral, or cardiac emergency, many of the issues facing the caregiver, and the client are the same. Despite the obvious differences in the front line needs of the clients, both of these populations are often the sickest in the hospital. One thing I do know, is that the health of the American citizen should not be decided by a politician in Washington, D.C. Sadly, that’s where this battle always shows its ugly underbelly.
For twenty five years, when I admitted a patient that came to the unit with a suitcase of medications, I believed it was because they were so ill, that they needed all the prescribed pharmaceuticals. As an old nurse, my thinking transformed into, the patient is sick because they are taking so many medications.
I can hear the protests from the audience now. Just read the labels, toxic and poisonous.
Truthfully, every pill has the potential to cause side effects, some known and some unknown. When a person complains to his doctor that he is uncomfortable due to the side effects of the medication he is taking, his doc writes him another prescription to help deal with the side effects. He has pain so his doctor writes him a prescription for an analgesic. Next he complains of constipation, so he gets a prescription. You can see where this is headed, right?
Constant television marketing convinces viewers that there is a pill that will fix anything and everything. Unfortunately, many Americans has been convinced that we can just take a pill, and every thing will be better. Health care policy makers need to take this issue very seriously.
Goblin One: Big Pharma
Lifestyle diseases kill more people than communicable diseases.
The top five killers are:
2.) Cardiovascular disease (High Blood Pressure, Heart Attack, High Cholesterol)
4.) Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
5.) and some forms of cancer.
More than 70% of deaths in the United States are attributable to one of the above listed diseases. Even more alarming is that 75% of the U.S. Health Care dollar is spent on the same listed diseases. Furthermore, the numbers do not reflect the personal and economic burden of chronic illness, lost work days, low productivity, disability and poor quality of life.
Non-Modifiable: unchangeable circumstances, such as age, gender, race, genetics.
Modifiable: changeable circumstances, such as life style choices that individuals have the ability to change. Most particularly, cigarette smoking, poor diet, inactivity, alcohol abuse or overuse, and chronic stress. Most people understand the link between lifestyle choices and chronic illness are undeniable. Understanding that continuation of unhealthy behaviors leads to chronic disease more often than not, does not lead people to make good choices.
“I’m going to die from something,” is the most common response people make when confronted with their poor life style behaviors. There seems to be no regard for the overall effects of that attitude on self, family, community or country.
Predictors of chronic illness: smoking, processed foods, fast foods, starchy carbs, bread & pasta, sugar drinks, excess alcohol, overeating, excessive salt use, sugar, high fat diets, and lack of exercise. These behaviors will lead to obesity. Obesity increases risks, particularly of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Smoking is the leading preventable cause of chronic illness and death in the U.S. and is responsible for 1 in 5 deaths. Statistics show that 10 times as many Americans have died prematurely from cigarette smoking than have died in all American wars. Smoking hardens arteries and causes the heart to work harder. Smoking cause emphysema and COPD. Smoking causes 80% of all COPD deaths and 90% of lung cancer deaths. Additionally, smoking is a major cause of throat, bladder cancer, voice box, liver, pancreas, stomach, kidney and colo-rectal cancers.
So, America become your own best physician:
1.) Stop smoking
2.) Eat a plant based diet
3.) Exercise at least 7 hours per week
4.) Reduce stress
5.) Practice good dental health
6.) Have fun
Goblin Two: Poor Life Style Choices
Former CIGNA Senior VP turned whistle blower, Wendall Potter called it “general gullibility and blind adherence to ideology.” The American public has been bamboozled “by the self serving propaganda from health care insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies and every other part of the medical industrial complex,” he told Congress in 2011.
Government leaders in other developed countries decided:
1.) health care is a right AND as such, is different and than typical free market arenas. 2.) when the ‘invisible hand’ of Adam Smith’s free market philosophy controls a nation’s health care system the result is higher cost and sicker citizens.
In 2011, Jason Adkins commented in a Catholic Spirit piece, “slavish adherence to ideology in politics can and does inflict harm to the very people public officials claim to serve.”
One basic element rarely discussed is failure of competition. The hospital industry is highly concentrated in areas with higher populations while under serving the rural populations of the U.S. and frequently leaving rural hospitals subject to failure. As as with hospitals, “health care services don’t really compete with one another as equal goods. “ My doctor’s care is different from the care provided by my neighbor’s physician. My medications are different than my neighbors. My response to care is different than his. These variables ensure that no case is the same. Thus, no “equal goods,” can apply.
Mark Sokr 2/17/2011 said, “I think the health care market is functioning perfectly. The problem is that the market is producing profits, NOT health.” Hmmm. Patients most likely would call this failure. However, for all facets of the health care industry, profits are spectacularly high, so it can be claimed that the market is a success and doing what it is intended to do, make money, and to expect better health care results would be unrealistic.
A very obvious dilemma exposes itself. Two separate and divergent end desires. The free market wants profit. The citizenry wants good, inexpensive health care. The ideology of profit and successful health care delivery do not coincide. Since the primary goal of the free market is profit, “Any diversion from this goal is inefficient and against the interests of the holders of capital,” Mark Sokr concluded.
Goblin Three: The really big lie. A free market solution
To slay the goblins in our health care closet it seems to me that we need to drop the ideology and look at the facts.
1.) Prevention must become the goal of this country. We can reduce the cost of health care by billions of dollars.
2.) Give up the idea that a pill will fix everything and as part of that our doctor’s need to direct their patients to a healthy lifestyle and stop handing out a pill for every complaint.
3.) Personal responsibility and self advocacy must become the center of each individual’s health care and ultimate well-being.
4.) Accept the proven fact that “free market” systems are inappropriate for health care and continuously fail.
5.) A single payer system delivers the best and least expensive care.
“Yes, President Trump, “health care is complicated.”
Join the Resistance