10 March 2017

Revamping the Affordable Care Act

Currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part.  So if they  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier.

Revamping the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is like putting lipstick on a pig.  Don't get me wrong, ACA is better than what we had, but a far cry from what we need.  What we need is not what the current efforts to revamp ACA are dedicated to trying to produce.

Watching Speaker Ryan on C-SPAN, as he speaks from a health insurance industry perspective, he is doing his best "used car salesman" pressure tactic routine, the revamping of the Affordable Care Act.  In doing so he makes it abundantly clear that he buys hook, line, and sinker into the "old=sick" risk pool stereotype.  One has to wonder if those are the expectations Speaker Ryan has for himself in old age.

The old=sick conundrum was a pet peeve of mine long before I could be categorized as old! Why? Because it goes without saying that along with life style choices, taking good care of health throughout life, including successfully navigating through pollutants (in air, water, soil, food; industrial pollutants, insecticide, radionuclides, etc.) makes a good BIG difference in the amount of health care that might NOT be needed for medical conditions which might NOT manifest in later years . . . unless there is a cumulative over-burden of pollutants, exacerbated by unhealthy life style choices (including nutrition). 

Not all retirement aged folks are health insurance liabilities simply because of being elders!  These days the health effects of pollutants cumulate so quickly that young=sick too - like childhood obesity from poor nutrition (and polluted food and water), outgassing from furniture and carpets, chemicals in fabric softener, pesticide residue on everything, not only from growing and harvesting of produce, but also absorbed by and through packaging because of insecticide gas used by shippers (often
naphthalene which is very evident from the clinging "moth ball" odor). Then there is the myriad of inoculations, so many all at once, which in some cases have proven to cause medical conditions which never should have been unforeseen had there been adequate research.  Add to that serious medical conditions from industrial pollutants in which category we should also put at least some pharmaceuticals. 

And of course there is pollution from wheeled vehicles, also airplanes and rockets said to produce much more than that of wheeled vehicles, which brings us also to the effects of pollutants on climate.  That is a whole additional issue, also related to health issues thus the structure of our health care system.  The list of pollutants goes on.  Many of today's pollutants did not exist or were not polluting the environment of my own rural Grandparents when they were growing up and when they were raising their children.  Consider that in 4-5 generations since 1900 the variety and number of environmental pollutants has increased exponentially.  Pollution from coal burning is one of the few that has been reduced.  Government is not efficiently monitoring, outlawing, and enforcing policies which minimize the problems.  And worse some of the dangerous chemicals that have been outlawed are in use again, like DDT. 

Pollution really does increasingly effect everyone's health in negative ways - if not immediately, then cumulatively later in life.  One effective way to spend less on health care all the way around is to reduce and get rid of pollutants, especially "hidden" pollutants that are in everyone's environment over which we, the people, should take more control.  It is we, the people, versus government sanctioned polluters . . . and currently we, the people, are batting zero because we are not persistently asking questions until we get appropriate answers from our legislative bodies at all levels of government, who are not supposed to be representing corporate needs in preference to the needs of we, the people.  The polluters vs people game is "fixed", currently, and will remain so until we, the people, persist in speaking up about the problems.

It is simple common sense that pollutants cumulate and eventually lead to health problems.   It takes diligent work, including acquiring personal knowledge, to detox as we go through life, because until serious medical conditions manifest the "illness industry" wants to do little or nothing other than provide pharmaceuticals for symptoms which in many cases increases the pollutant load in a body, some pharmaceuticals creating side effects and medical conditions as bad as, or worse than the symptoms for which they were prescribed.   Those who have helplessly experienced the "illness industry" journey through life of loved ones, know exactly of what I speak!  

Worse, the medical insurance industry masquerading as health care refuses to cover holistic health approaches that deal with treating health problems more naturally when possible, and preventing health problems while creating and maintaining optimal health, at far less cost because holistic care can minimize the likelihood of serious medical conditions developing.  Simply put, no health care system is adequate without also covering cost effective holistic approaches to healing and maintaining good health.  But neither original ACA nor revamped ACA do that.  It is doubtful at this point that the single payer system we need to establish would embrace holistic health.  Although there is some movement in the direction of embracing and teaching integrative medicine at medical schools, we do not see that dimension of care reflected in any legislative discussions about what ACA provides.  Instead we see "the system" in our own nation as the  problem it is.   Compared to other nations it has become a for-profit institutionalized illness industry from which the insurance and pharmaceutical industries profit, and in doing so it leaves many patient needs unmet while it limits the adequate exercising of health care professionals' skills and abilities. 

Health, Education, and Welfare used to be a government department. And it certainly is the work of government to set and enforce minimal standards regarding all three, throughout the nation.  But for many decades government has been falling short in it's responsibility for all three.  Is it any wonder the department no longer exists as an umbrella for these three standard setting and enforcing areas of government policy?  Again,
currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part.   So if they  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier.

We, the people, need to be asking where the profits from the exorbitant costs of the current system are going.  Even with insurance, dealing with a major health issue leaves people in bankruptcy.  Part of the problem is that people pay for convenience.  But, when did we become a nation of people who pay every cost for health care set by insurance companies that is asked of us, without question?  We pay without question because the more affluent among us can and because it is convenient - at least more convenient and less time consuming than questioning rising costs and the quality of health care.  Throw more money at it and it will improve, is the mantra.  Get more money and ask for more money, is the mantra in response.  It has become a vicious circle because the unquestioned costs become unquestionable costs of convenience for the more affluent.   And costs continue to increase for all as access to care decreases so that unless we do evolve to a not-for-profit single payer national health care system, a large majority of Americans will be left without access to even basic health care.  Because, it will simply not be affordable and because it does not adequately meet patient needs, but instead meets the needs of those who monetarily profit from the system as it is.  Who is profiting from the exorbitant cost associated with the system of health care?  Let's follow the money and find the problems.

One more time,
currently our legislative bodies are once again addressing the structure of the system of health care in our nation.  But they should be addressing the collective health of our nation of which the structure of health care is a part - a big part.   So if our elected legislators  are going to take the time and make the effort to address the inadequate structure of the system of health care, then why don't they simply choose to do it right, and get to work on  presenting a not-for-profit single-payer national system of health care to which all have equal access?  In the long run it would be much more cost effective all the way around, and our entire nation would, collectively, be much healthier which is what we all deserve.