Do we have a “health care” or a “sick care” medical system in the United States? And, does it matter?
Yes, it does matter. Because the emphasis of our attention will affect the results of our actions. And we can see the results in so many medical statistics.
If we continue on with our current medical industry we can look forward to increases in chronic disease and reduced lifestyle options. This chart published by the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease gives us the bad news:
The percentage of American with chronic diseases will continue to increase. This will result in increased profits and prosperity for every component of the current medical industry.
But, individuals can take action to promote and maintain their own health, in spite of the emphasis of our medical industry on disease and sickness.
Thomas M. Menino and Paula Johnson writing in the Boston Globe indicate that “The foundation of our current health care system is the treatment of illness and disease rather than the promotion of good health.”
They further stated that “For example, type II diabetes afflicts an estimated 380,000 Massachusetts residents, an increase of 75 percent since 1994.”
One would think that our medical industry (including universities, doctors, nurses, hospitals, pharmaceutical manufacturers, insurance companies) would be more effective in creating a healthy population. But, they have utterly failed to do so. Statistics for most chronic diseases show increases, not decreases.
Indeed, the medical industry thrives on treating sickness. It would languish with a healthy population. It would not make sense to think that such an industry would willingly choke off its cash supply by promoting health.
If health is to be a priority, it must become a priority in the hearts and minds of individuals. Neither the medical industry nor governments (under the influence of medical industry lobbyists) are likely to shift to making a healthy population a priority.
Jeffery Levi, interim President and CEO, Trust for America’s Health, wrote in the Huffington Post, “For years the United States has approached public health backwards. Indeed, the current health care system has been set up to treat people after they are sick rather than keeping them well in the first place. Our country has a sick care system rather than a health care system.”
Stephen C. Schimpff, MD, writing on the KevinMD site indicated, “We have a medical (that is, sick) care system—a system that waits until we become ill before it kicks into action—instead of a health care system focused on helping us stay healthy.”
Writing the the New England Journal of Medicine, Farshad Fani Marvasti, M.D., M.P.H., and Randall S. Stafford, M.D., Ph.D. wrote, “Unsustainable costs, poor outcomes, frequent medical errors, poor patient satisfaction, and worsening health disparities all point to a need for transformative change.”
In short, we need to stop thinking about how to pay for ineffective sick care products and begin emphasizing health care which promotes long and vibrant lives. We don’t need “health care reform” so much as we need a transformation in our thinking about health.
Sick Care Products
The sick care system promotes products that do not promote health, but rather try to reduce the painful, debilitating effects of disease.
Sick care “products” mostly comprise prescription medications and operations. Both these products provide profits for the sick care industry.
Medical operations provide profits for hospitals, skilled surgeons, nurses and other hospital staff. During and after the operation there will be a need for pharmaceutical drugs providing profits in that sector.
Debt.org reveals that “Hospital costs averaged $3,949 per day, and costs per stay averaged $15,734.”
You can check the range of prices and a “fair” price for medical operations at Healthcare Bluebook. They indicate that for an elbow replacement surgery the costs range from $17,736 to $55,427 with a fair price being $22,171. For a total knee replacement surgery the low cost is $22,260, the high cost is $69,562 with a fair price being $27,825.
The most familiar sick care products are prescription drugs. They primarily help reduce the symptoms of disease. These products help manage the pain of chronic diseases so sick people can function as long as possible.
The investment advisory, The Motley Fool, tells us that for 2013-2014 “the average American’s annual prescription drug tab is $1,370.”
They further tell us about baby boomers by citing statistics from a prescription fulfillment service, “Express Scripts’ research suggests that about 60% of the highest-spending members are baby boomers, with a third of the $100,000+ spenders being treated for at least 10 conditions.”
Health Care Products
On the other hand, a true health care system promotes products consisting of natural foods or supplements that provide all the nutrients required to help the body function normally. They help the immune system fight off disease, help the body stay strong and vibrant.
The basic idea is that the body is designed to function in health. And, if we feed it the right foods, avoid substances that hinder the body’s functions, get proper rest and exercise, then the body can function long in a healthy state. With a healthy lifestyle change We can avoid the chronic diseases that seem to plague most people.
Dean Ornish, M.D., is the founder and president of the non-profit Preventive Medicine Research Institute and Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF. He is the author of six books, all national bestsellers, and his TED talks have been viewed by over four million people. His work has been featured in all major media, including cover stories in Newsweek, TIME, and U.S. News & World Report, and he is currently Medical Editor of The Huffington Post.
Dean Ornish, MD: Creating a New Paradigm of Healthcare vs Sickcare
Please visit the Preventive Measures Research Institute, a non-profit research institute investigating the effects of diet and lifestyle choices on health and disease.
Please visit PlantPure to learn more about PlantPure and its whole food plant-based (WFPB) meals, as well as its efforts to help grow the plant-based lifestyle movement.
Living in accord with health is a choice. It’s a choice you make while you still have that option.
This is exactly what our site, Healthy Body Support, is all about. We want you to be in good health.