Have you ever worried about how you’re going to get healthy these days? Has your doctor recommended diet and exercise? Well, if you’re like millions who are struggling to find health, you’re going to need a lot more than just diet and exercise. You’re going to have to fight like crazy against a mind-set of disease that’s paradoxically disguised as health care.
America’s healthcare system – health insurance companies, government health programs, drug companies, and conventionally-trained specialists are integrated to keep you sick.
Let’s take a look at how this all works from a perspective we don’t often look at – the big picture.
How are health insurance companies able to post $4 billion in Wall Street profit every quarter, boasting “business growth across all sectors?” Health insurance companies must increase premiums to beneficiaries, decrease reimbursements to doctors and deny coverage for care, citing pre-existing conditions and exclusion of services as their fundamental reasons. They segment the market into healthy people (80% or more) who can pay for the not-so-healthy people (<20%) who cannot pay but need care. They pay more for fix-it procedures like cardiac bypasses and punish people retroactively for going to the emergency room to seek care by denying “non-emergency coverage.” At the same time, they decrease preventive care reimbursements to primary care providers that keep patients out of the hospital.
Are health insurance companies really interested in keeping Americans healthy for the long-term, or more interested in a short-term view of increasing next quarter’s earnings? When money is in such short supply, will they truly invest in the long-term payment of aggressive, integrated health programs or will they attempt to keep their financial noses above water by paying as little as possible to the millions of aging people who are now burdening an already stressed system?
If you’re healthy right now, you’ll likely have trouble staying that way. You are the target group that needs to pay for disease care, now. Your money will be siphoned in the form of premiums and taxes at escalating amounts, effectively decreasing your ability to engage in health habits – quality food, nutritional counseling, preventive body work and rehabilitation, fitness memberships, personal trainers or psychological counseling for heightened levels of stress and anxiety over a healthcare system that’s imploding. In the end, you will squander your health care, now, for a future of disease that will never be “fixed” by a healthcare system with such short-sighted focus.
Our government program, Medicare, is a great example of what will happen to the healthy version of you in the future if you continue to support it. Promises made to Medicare beneficiaries in the last century that health will be cared for at retirement have revealed just how narrowly focused our government policies actually are. At roughly 10,800 Medicare recipients qualifying for the program per day, or 4 million baby boomers a year since 2010, it’s a no-brainer that Medicare will be insolvent once the remaining 64 million boomers qualify into the program. Federal deficits are estimated at $16 trillion, but when unfunded entitlements like Medicare and Social Security are included, the total is around $211 trillion.
Again, in order to pay for programs which are imploding now, the government must tax the healthy and young, funneling that money into disease care now.
What about drug companies? How do they make money? According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS), $146.9 billion was spent on prescription drugs in the top 5 therapeutic classes in 2009, most of which are preventable conditions. From 1997 to 2004, total expenses for outpatient prescription drugs increased by 160%, from $72.3 to $191.0 billion, according to an April 2007 MEPS report.
If we become healthier as a nation and don’t require these drugs for our preventable conditions, how will drug companies make money? Between 1996 and 2006, total expenditures for cancer treatment increased from $46.9 to $57.5 billion. So what disease do drug companies need us to have in order to sell us their drugs at premium prices?
Believing that we are going to “cure cancer” has now become a wonderful lie that tugs at our hearts, opens our purses and perpetuates our reliance on drugs instead of funneling billions into the provision of health practices and education first. The National Cancer Institute 2012 Report to the Nation on the Status of Cancer states that, “[cancers] are associated with being overweight or obese. Several of these cancers also are associated with not being sufficiently physically active.” But instead of money going toward aggressively correcting behavior, we raise money to endlessly search for a cure long after the fact.
Finally, what about our beloved medical specialists who, in America, out-number primary care providers by 3 to 1? How are specialists paid? How are they trained?
Conventional medical specialists are incentivized to cut, fix, prescribe and test. They spend 10-15 years in the minutia of disease mentality, gluing their eyes to the proverbial microscope. They are paid to search, find and destroy disease. The more specialized they are, the more disease-oriented their mind-set, having learned for many years to begin with the grossly damaged end product of a very sick living system – you – and then work backwards to find a cure. Specialists are not trained to step back and view the integrated big picture of health and its practices. Since they are experts in disease, their recommendations will be disease-focused under guidelines for the “prevention of disease,” rather than operating inside a paradigm of health first. At the end of that disease-focused exercise, specialists are taught to proudly declare that you, their patient, are healthy by virtue of the fact you don’t have a disease. And if they could not find a disease, they will be encouraged by a disease-oriented healthcare system to make up something in order to get paid; something called an ICD code.
The International Classification of Diseases or ICD-coding system which is the creed of the medical profession has gone from a few hundred categories to 144,000 in its recent tenth version. Doctors operating under this highly disease-driven medical system worth trillions are trained and paid as automatons to inadvertently deliver disease under a disguise of health care. And many don’t or can’t see that this is what they are trained to do.
But, is the absence of disease the equivalent of health?
We are trained to believe it is. We are incentivized to act like it is. We are pushed, punished and reprimanded to sink our mind-set and thoughts inside a system that must keep us this way – diseased, sick and poor, in order to make its next quarter earnings. Inside a system this corrupt with paradoxical messaging, one that seeks to keep us this sick, why do we wonder the more we spend, the sicker we seem to become?
The question is this. Can you separate yourself from a disease-oriented medical system to find optimal health, when all these parameters – health insurance, government programs, drug companies, and doctors – perpetuate disease via their beliefs, thoughts, training, messaging, and actions?
We are spinning into a death spiral – not only economically, but physically, emotionally and spiritually as well. The more we focus on the disease details – the more we desperately slash through the forest without seeing the trees – the sicker we will all become. No amount of money will ever solve that problem, because the problem is the way we see the problem.
Change the way you see things, push aside what you’ve been told to believe against all opposition, vilification and condemnation, and only then will you be able to find optimal health.
Natasha Deonarain is the founder of The Health Conscious Movement. She is the author of the upcoming book, The 7 Principles of Health and can be reached on Twitter @HealthMovement.