Remember the start of this famous song by the Mamas and the Papas. “All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey”. There was a big push in California last year for a healthcare system for everyone and have it be single pay.

 The reasons behind this, was to have insurance for all and cut down on the rising cost of healthcare in the state. It seemed to be gaining traction until the people found out to fund it would require a tax increase. So for now it did not turn out that way.

Here is the beginning of the song entitled “Potato”, by Cheryl Wheeler. “They’re red, they’re white, they’re brown-They get that way underground”. In Idaho the state that grows those special potatoes, a new health insurance plan that does not stick to the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) regulations can be found.

The purpose here is also to try and decrease healthcare costs. This would mean cheaper plans for those who are in good health and the fear is that this would mean less people signing up for the ACA. In addition, this could lead to a legal showdown with the federal government since it is technically against the law. There are other states standing by to see which way this will go.

What I find particularly interesting is that on the one hand, you have a very progressive state calling for a single payer health insurance plan which could end or replace the ACA. On the other hand, you have a conservative state that is offering health insurance plans that could further destabilize the ACA’s exchanges in that state and ultimately could lead to its demise. Though the two states see the solution to their rising health insurance problems and healthcare costs in totally opposing ways, one thing they seem to have in common is a problem with the ACA.

“All the leaves are brown and the sky is grey”. I mean no disrespect to either state but neither plan will turn out OK. The plan in my book, Restoring-“Health” To Healthcare can show them the way.

 

As a nation since 1960, we have had serious problems with the rising costs of healthcare. In 2009, there was a debate that was raging throughout our country concerning how to reform our healthcare system, how to get more people insured, stop rising healthcare costs and resolve the healthcare crisis that affected us all. This resulted in the passage of the ACA.  Now it is almost ten years later and having access to affordable, quality healthcare still causes a lot of anxiety and concern for most of us. In addition, healthcare costs are still going up (7% higher than wages) over the past six years.

In the past few months, the news has been filled with a variety of reports concerning different entities related to the healthcare industry making changes or proposing laws to try to curb healthcare costs. Here is a list of just some of them.

CVS, the large pharmacy company is going to buy Aetna Health Insurance Company.

United healthcare group is going to buy about three hundred healthcare clinics from DaVita Medical Group.

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway Group and J.P. Morgan are going to form an independent company to try and rein in healthcare costs for their employees.

Speaker Ryan spoke of getting back to dealing with entitlement reform in 2018 which probably means looking at changes to Medicare and Medicaid.

The State of Idaho is making healthcare law changes that would have cheaper insurance premiums for healthy people but those who are unhealthy may have to pay more.

Health and Human Services recently has proposed changes in the healthcare law that will allow individuals and small businesses to purchase health insurance that will have lower premiums but fewer benefits. These happen to be benefits that many people do not want or need that are currently required by the Affordable Care Act such as prescription drugs, maternity care and/or access to mental healthcare coverage.

 It is too early to know if any of these will actually work or if they come to fruition in the first place. In addition, while I applaud efforts to try to do something about the cost of healthcare in our country, all of these plans, recommendations and/or proposals are not dealing with the real cause of our healthcare crisis. Indeed, the real crisis we have here is the adherence to a belief system that accepts the absurdity that continuing to fund “sick care” is the solution. Add that to the fact that almost all of the $3.5 plus trillion that went towards healthcare costs in the USA last year was spent on illness.

We need a fundamentally different approach, one that deals with the actual cause of this problem which is too much disease. I know how to do this and that is why I wrote – Restoring “Health” To Healthcare.

 

I believe most people assume that adopting a healthy lifestyle would be too costly. I have learned that whether that is your case or not, it is too costly (on many levels) NOT to. As a matter of fact, from a dollars and cents standpoint, it is often cheaper to live a healthy lifestyle than it is to live an unhealthy one. Here are some of the facts about the economic impact of unhealthy living habits.

Unpaid medical bills are the biggest cause of bankruptcy in the country today.

 About 70% of deaths in the USA each year are due to chronic diseases. Three of the most common ones are cardiovascular disease (which includes diseases of the heart, hypertension, stroke and peripheral vascular disease), cancer and diabetes. These diseases plus obesity, arthritis, lung and Alzheimer’s disease can undermine health, shorten life expectancy and cause enormous suffering, disability and economic costs.

In June 2004, a joint statement was issued by the American Cancer Society, The American Diabetes Association and the American Heart Association. Here is a quote from that statement. “Despite the incontrovertible evidence supporting the medical and economic benefits of prevention and early detection, current disease control efforts are underfunded and fragmented. While healthcare costs skyrocket, the national investment in prevention was estimated at less than 3 % of total annual healthcare expenditures”. I have put this statement in here because this was made about fourteen years ago and not much has changed in the amount of dollars spent on prevention while the incidence of these chronic diseases continues to rise at alarming rates. Chronic diseases account for at least 75% of healthcare costs which were about $3.5 trillion last year.

It is estimated that about 70% of these diseases/conditions can be prevented by early detection and modifying some of our lifestyle choices. Think of the money we could save as a nation (hundreds of billions of dollars), if a concerted effort were placed on prevention. The financial impact of the costs associated with being unhealthy can also affect you on a more personal level. They can lead to higher premiums, co-pays and more out-of-pocket expenses for treatments, tests, procedures, prescription and nonprescription medications. You may even see a reduction or loss in wages due to uncovered sick days.

There are also emotional costs to illnesses; stress and anxiety levels can increase due to concerns over ill family members and/or fear of job loss or the cancellation of insurance coverage. If we could reduce the incidence of illness, then these costs would be dramatically reduced as well.

 

 When you make something a priority, you will do whatever it takes to attain it. Each of us should make, being as healthy as we can be a priority in our lives. How much would you value the following?

Reducing the risk of suffering from any serious and potentially debilitating disease, including heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and others

Reducing the chances of developing arthritis, osteoporosis and other chronic musculoskeletal problems

Reducing the chances of suffering from colds, sore throats, and the flu

Decreasing the likelihood of becoming overweight or obese

Having more energy all day

Living a longer, more vital quality of life

Not having to miss recreational and family activities due to illness or physical problems

Missing fewer work days and lost wages as a consequence of illness

Reducing healthcare visits and saving dollars spent on co-pays and out of pocket expenses

Avoiding some painful tests, procedures and surgeries which often have healthy risks of their own

Reducing the need for prescription and nonprescription medications with their potential side effects, adverse reactions and costs

Reducing your need for hospitalizations

Having greater peace of mind and less stress (at least regarding your health)

 

 Your body is constantly changing and repairing itself. It actually generates and replaces ten million cells every second (white blood cells are replaced every ten days, muscles every three months and the entire liver every seven years). Therefore, if you start giving the cells of the body what they really need for optimal functioning, you should be able to improve your health and well-being. The healthier you are, the more likely your body is able to function at optimal efficiency to begin with. In addition, the better your chances should be to overcome diseases and/or recover form a traumatic injury, a surgical procedure or some other radical treatment.

Health Is Normal

The good news is that it is normal for the human body to be healthy.  The human body if taken care of properly; would most likely not get sick or breakdown that often, function as efficiently as it could and would have more energy. Though at some point it will wear out, it could last and feel better longer with some TLC.

If we:

Breathed clean, non-polluted air as much as possible

Ate three well-balanced meals and a healthy snack or two per day

Drank sufficient quantities of clean, healthy water

Had a sufficient amount of quality sleep most nights

Exercised regularly

Did not smoke cigarettes

Did not abuse alcohol or illegal drugs

Practiced good personal hygiene

Tried to get outside in the sun a few minutes, most days of the year

Stayed socially involved and mentally active

How sick do you think we would be?  

JUST SAYING

 

Chief Complaint: Heel Pain

I have been a podiatrist for almost half a century and the most common chief complaint that I have seen over the years is heel pain. The duration of pain can be a few days to weeks but in most cases months or longer until a patient comes in to the office. The majority of the times after a history, physical examination and often x-rays; the diagnosis is a painful condition called Plantar Fasciitis. It is associated with pain and stiffness on the bottom of the heel or heels especially when getting out of bed in the AM or after sitting for a period of time. It can be very severe and one often finds it difficult to walk without limping.

 These patents often have tried various things to help themselves which could include: rest, ice, elevation, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, massage, foot and leg stretching, using a Plantar Fascial Splint at night, shoe insoles and trying different shoes. All of these can be helpful to control the symptoms sometimes but often the pain persists or returns. This is because the underlying cause has not been identified or addressed. The cause is usually related to inefficient foot and leg functioning which leads to muscle imbalances in the lower legs and feet. Once that is properly addressed, the symptoms usually subside and the patient is once again pain free. If it is not, the problem can easily reoccur, and sometimes become almost disabling and lead to more aggressive treatments which could include surgery.

Chief Complaint: The High Cost of Healthcare

Now we compare the above patient to the United States of America. The chief compliant is that health insurance premiums are too high as are co-pays and deductibles. In addition, many people cannot afford health insurance to begin with or are under insured. The duration of these symptoms has been almost sixty years now. The USA has tried: HMOS, PPOS, Medicare, Medicaid, reducing reimbursements to healthcare providers, clinics and hospitals. In recent years, we have also tried the passage of the Affordable Care Act and now trying to modify or repeal it, the merging of pharmacies and insurance companies, plus we now have health insurance companies purchasing healthcare clinics. Finally, there is talk about modifying the Medicare and Medicaid programs in 2018.

One thing all of these have in common is something to do with money or funding or cutting money for this or that. There is another thing that they all have in common but is never really addressed and that is diseases which create the demand in the first place and is the actual cause of all of them. Until we acknowledge that and do something to fix it (decrease the number of us contracting diseases and therefore needing “sick care”) we will not be able to get this now very chronic and serious problem under control. My book “Restoring “Health” To Healthcare does just that.

 

According to a recent Quinnipiac poll, with all the issues facing our nation today both foreign and domestic, the one that concerns us the most is still healthcare. What is going to happen now that the personal mandate has been repealed? What will happen if the government decides not to reimburse the insurance companies $ 8 billion dollars related to the ACA health plans? What will happen if the government does not give states $10 billion to create high-risk pools or otherwise help insurers with especially high medical bills? With all that is going on in Congress now, when will they have time to deal with the healthcare issues that concern so many of us? When will they do something to help lower our premiums, co-pays and deductibles?

While these are all legitimate concerns, none of these problems can be “fixed” unless we define what the cause of them are and therein lies the essence of our healthcare crisis. Indeed, the real crisis we face is the adherence to a belief system that accepts the absurdity of continuing to fund our “reactive” approach to disease. It is just not working. To me, “wellness” is the key to transforming our failed healthcare system.  Even though Americans spend significantly more on healthcare per person than any other industrialized nation in the world, we are the sickest. Even though our healthcare professionals are the best trained and best equipped in the world we are very unhealthy. Even though the United States is where everyone wants to be for life-threatening medical emergencies or surgical interventions or long-term care, the state of our individual health and our health as a nation continues to deteriorate.  Two years ago as a nation our healthcare costs was approximately $3.207 trillion and this past year it was about $3.5 trillion. Where and when will it end? Sadly, our lack of information and understanding of what the body really needs to function efficiently and optimally lies at the very core of this crisis.

Unless we fundamentally change the way we define health -not healthcare- but health itself…unless we each make health a priority in our lives, unless we each take primary responsibility for our own health.…unless the government changes the way it approaches this healthcare crisis…. unless the government (with the assistance of the health insurance industry and our healthcare providers)  provides us with the education, support and financial incentives to start making  healthier lifestyle choices, we will never be able to get this serious problem under control.

Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Pertaining To Your Health

It is the things that we do or do not do to our bodies that have an awful lot to do with how healthy we are or are not. For most of us, no matter what illness you are suffering from, no matter what discomfort you feel and no matter what is wrong with your body, you should ask yourself the following questions. Apart from medications or other treatments that may have been recommended by my healthcare provider(s), what am I not giving or doing to the cells of my body that they need?  What I am giving or doing to the cells of my body that they do not need?

Making the necessary lifestyle changes based on your answers should improve your ability to at least be as healthy as you can be, if not totally overcome whatever health challenges you may have. In addition, they should enable you to prevent others in the future. Giving the cells of the body all the nutrients they need (oxygen, food and water) and creating a healthy living environment within your body (exercise regularly, get enough sleep, try to reduce or better manage stress), should enable them to produce enough energy for the body to do everything it was designed to do, be as vital as it can be and be able to take care of itself as it was meant to do. In addition, if you are unfortunately ill or injured, should help expedite healing.

 

According to a recent Quinnipiac Poll, 29% of people polled considered healthcare as their number one concern. The economy at 18% came in second.  I am not surprised since having quality, affordable, healthcare affects all of us. Unfortunately, there are a lot of uncertainties surrounding healthcare starting out in 2018 and this can only add to our level of anxiety about this important issue.

Healthcare premiums are going up again as they usually do.

How will the repeal of the personal mandate associated with the ACA affect health insurance rates going forward?

The CBO predicts because of this, that millions less will have access to affordable health insurance over the next decade.

Will the Chips program that helps insure almost 9 million children, be given the billions of dollars they need to continue being funded by the end of January?

Will the $8 billion be reimbursed to insurers for two years of payments for discounts that the ACA health plans must give to those with lower incomes for their deductibles and out of pocket expenses?

Will $10 billion be given to states to help create high risk pools or otherwise help insurers with especially high medical bills?

Will President Trump’s administration be successful in drafting rules to make it easier for insurers to offer inexpensive, bare bones insurance policies?

How will some of the recent healthcare business mergers and proposed healthcare business mergers (hospitals merging with other hospitals, drug companies buying other drug companies, hospitals buying insurance companies and drug companies buying insurance companies) affect the quality and cost of healthcare?

 Getting the budget bill passed is a priority right now. As it stands now, next on the agenda will be infrastructure and immigration reform. So when will Congress have the time to do something about either repealing and replacing, modifying the ACA or at least stabilizing the existing health insurance markets for the near future?

 Drug prices are predicted to increase again this year.

There has been talk about making changes in Medicaid and Medicare this year as well.

With all these changes and/or possible changes in 2018, there seems to me to be a legitimate concern for many of us to be anxious over the future of our healthcare. All of these have to do with dealing with the costs of healthcare which are important issues. However, none of these deal with the real cause of our healthcare problems.

That is why I wrote Restoring “Health” To Healthcare which I am certain does and offers the only path to ending our healthcare crisis today.

 

1-Overall healthcare costs were $3.5 trillion in 2017 almost one-fifth of our GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

2-Many people lose wages when they are sick and therefore will have less money to spend.

3-Companies will increase the cost of services and goods to offset increasing health insurance rates.

4- With companies having to spend more for their healthcare insurance, they have less money to go towards increasing wages and so this results in stagnant wages.

5-Health insurance companies will raise their insurance premiums and co-pays to offset increasing demands for healthcare services.

6-When people get sick or injured they have to spend more of their dollars on co-pays and out of pocket expenses and less money to save or spend on other needs.

7- When the uninsured get sick that leads to uncompensated care which costs billions of dollars and is ultimately paid for out of taxpayer dollars by either the federal government or the states.

8-When the uninsured get sick, they often wait to seek healthcare until their problem(s) is/are so bad they cannot wait any longer. This often means more complicated problems and increased recovery times both leading to higher healthcare costs than if they were able to seek healthcare intervention sooner.

9-Overwhelming medical bills are the number one cause of bankruptcies in the country. This obviously can be very devastating to the person or families involved but it also means that healthcare providers and many other people or businesses/creditors do not get paid as well.

10-Millons of people are one serious illness or injury away from potential financial ruin because of some catastrophic disease and or injury. This leads to a lot of stress and anxiety which over time can be a major cause of serious health problems and more healthcare spending.

Restoring “Health” To Healthcare” presents an uncomplicated plan for ending these problems and our healthcare crisis once and for all.