Will Expanding Health Insurance Improve Public Health?
-A Question California Legislators Need to Ask
By Mark Blackburn, MBA, Business Analyst
My credentials for writing this Proposal
Synopsis: California's legislative agenda for 2007 reads like an insurance industry's dream: there are 7 proposed bills in the California assembly alone that seek to expand disease care insurance, or make it mandatory for all children or all citizens. I hope to play devil's advocate and ask for four things before any votes are cast in Sacramento:
An independent study that would show whether insured populations are healthier than uninsured populations. This information is crucial to this debate.
Full disclosure from all California's legislators regarding any bribes (also called contributions) received from any health-related corporations (Pharmaceutical, Hospital, Medical-Industrial, Health Insurance, Health Administrators)
A Cost/Benefit projection of expanding health insurance in CA versus a much less costly program of education & prevention, something a massive federal study says is the ONLY way to improve our public health
A statement of desired outcome from each bill, and an analysis of all outcomes (good or bad) anticipated from implementation
You can get more information on Assembly Bills 1, 2, 8, 9, 10, 12, 13 here (type in 'health insurance').
You can locate your California State Senator and Assemblyman here (click on "Your Senator" link at left of page).
Rating Health Care in California and the USA
Fact: The United States' disease-care system is the most expensive "health care" system in the world out-costing it's nearest world competitor by 2:1. What do we get in exchange for outspending every other country on Earth by at least 2:1?
We have some of the worst public health statistics of any developed country on the planet. Only third-world countries without sanitation have worse public health statistics than the USA.
Our own US Dept. of Health says only 1.5% of Americans are healthy. (That means our current "Health" care system, a melange of typical government incompetence and collusion with the "medical industrial complex" achieves a 98.5% failure rate)! This might create some reservations about giving carte-blanche to government to expand & mismanage something as vital and critical as your family's health.
Former US Surgeon General Everett Koop said, "Our health care system is in crisis, bordering on chaos."
Our disease care system in the USA is so dysfunctional, it has spawned a number of new research works that you may wish to peruse:
Two Current Credible Critiques of Contemporary Health Care Practice in the USA that should be read by every American:
Critique # 1
by Modern Medicine" is the winner of the 2006 Independent
Publisher Book Awards, Most Progressive Health book.
See Press Release
"Death by Modern Medicine" was written by Dr. Carolyn Dean MD, ND, and Trueman Tuck, Rights Advocate, and goes far beyond the statistics of deaths due to drugs. It shows how the allopathic medical monopoly has created a Health Care system that fails to encourage good health, especially by prevention. "Death by Modern Medicine" documents the tales of propaganda, health care bureaucracy, and the focus on profits instead of healing. It shows, statistically, that the number 1 killer in North America, is in fact, one of the most heavily regulated products, services and facilities industry in North America - The Allopathic Medical Disease Industry.
YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT "THEY" WANT YOU SICK AND DYING EXPENSIVELY.
Critique # 2
ABSTRACT (From "Death by Medicine" By Gary Null PhD, Carolyn Dean MD ND, Martin Feldman MD, Debora Rasio MD, Dorothy Smith PhD (c) 2003, All Rights Reserved:
A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that American medicine frequently causes more harm than good. The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million.1 Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.2, 2a The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million.3 The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million.4 The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown in the following table is 783,936. It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.5
In light of the many reservations even medical insiders have about health care in the USA, is expanding access to this problematic care something that should be presently undertaken and underwritten by taxpayers? Could or should the health care system be fixed first?
Should government be used to create medical fascism...a system where prevention and alternative therapies (unprofitable to big pharma, but actually helpful to the public) are not allowed? When goverment uses it's powers (and they are awesome) shouldn't these powers be directed at protecting the rights, health, and welfare of citizens, not simply enforcing the profits of wealthy corporations?
It was reported in 2000 that more dollars are spent each year in the USA on alternative care than on conventional care. What is amazing is that most money spend on the state religion (allopathic medicine) is not a direct cost to consumers who have insurance paying for most medical expenses. However, the greater amount that is spent on prevention and alternative comes almost entirely out of the pocket of the consumer since Insurance corruption and collusion with Government and the Allopathic Gods has created a system where allopathic care is paid by insurance but alternative care is not. This is classic corporate welfare at it's WORST!
|Health||Health is not going to the doctor, getting mercury-laden vaccinations, being insured, or going to a hospital. Health is the absence of disease. Health results from healthful living. Few doctors know what health is or ever see it.|
|Disease||Disease, something enjoyed by 98.5% of Americans (according to the 1992 US Health Abstract) is the result of living like an American. It is the absence of health.|
|Individual Health||The health of a discreet individual. Your Son may have good health. Your Grandmother may have failing health.|
|Public Health||The median health of a population of people (tabulated and often expressed as diseases per 1,000 individuals)|
The individual takes responsibility for his own life, money, body, health, death, etc. (This was the model for success when the USA grew into a successful, powerful country)..
My Credentials and Motive in Questioning Universal Health Insurance
I am not a doctor-basher. I care deeply about the individual health of California's 37 million people. I want the best public health our tax dollars can buy. I am a business systems analyst with 20 years in my field, have an MBA degree and have provided business consulting services to three different health insurers. I have also been a technical consultant to one of the largest California public health agencies. I have been researching health and lifestyle issues for 20 years. I salute the many amazing emergency care technologies available through modern medicine. At the same time, after seeing both my Father and my Step-Father killed by doctors, I am a reluctant and judicious consumer of American medical care. My extensive research has led me to follow a traditional approach of natural health that keeps me healthy and out of the doctor's office. I take a high degree of personal responsibility for my health and well-being, and recoil at the thought of using government's gun to rob others to pay for medical care for me....especially if I have caused that disease through my own lack of diligence, discipline, or responsibility. It is a strongly held personal value that I not rob from others, even if government cooperation is freely available to commit the crime. I choose to live without standard health insurance. Because of this, I have saved tens of thousands of dollars, and I do not want to be forced to pay for the avoidable health expenses of others who are too lazy to take responsibility for their own health (most people with diabetes or heart disease and many with cancer). Recall that paying for your comrade's consumption is called communism. One big part of the world just abandoned this failed economic doctrine in the past decade. I find it odd that Americans would now suddengly embrace it with unbridled enthusiasm! I am also aware that Medicare (a federal behemoth health insurance program) is widely considered the greatest single threat to the solvency of our federal government by many well-informed financial analysts and experts. I am also aware that much of our uniquely expensive disease care is unnecessary. Government has shown repeatedly that it is incapable of achieving efficiency or effectiveness in administering social welfare programs. I question the need for another state-run insurance bureaucracy. In my field as a business analyst I have learned to carefully identify the problem, and to take a creative, expansive and even unconventional approaches to selecting solutions.
-Mark Blackburn, MBA
Disease is Avoidable
A fundamental tenant of health insurance is to spread the risk (of catastrophic expense) across a large population. I absolutely wish that this be done for people who suffer tragic unavoidable health issues. However, most health problems in the USA are easily avoidable! We have the cure for cancer. We don't need to send billions every year so some starving Doctors can play in a lab to find a cure! The cure is to avoid the causes of cancer. We know the causes. But, no pharmaceutical company gets rich if this is publicized, or if you become healthy. No pharmaceutical company gets rich if you start caring for yourself, and stop going to the doctor. We know the cause of heart disease. We know the cause of diabetes. These extremely expensive scourges on our society can be eliminated through prevention. I sometimes wonder what happened to the pioneering spirit of self-reliance that built this great country (back when it's people were healthy). Too many of us consider that disease is mysterious and capricious in it's appearance. It is not!
Our own Department of Health, Education, and Welfare in its landmark 1977 study entitled "Dietary Goals for the United States" wrote "it has become clear that only by preventing disease rather than treating it later, can we hope to achieve any major improvement in the nation's health."
"Our diets have changed radically within the last 50 years with great and very harmful effects on our health. Too much fat, sugar, or salt can be and are linked directly to heart disease, cancer, obesity and stroke, among other killer diseases. In all, six of the ten leading causes of death in the US have been linked to diet..." the study states. Yet, in many countries which still eat a traditional plant-based diet, our six leading causes of death in the USA are unheard of.
The surgeon general says 6 of our 10 leading diseases are dietary diseases (caused by diet). If 6 of the 10 leading causes of death are dietary diseases, isn't it OBVIOUS that there exists a profound problem with our DIETS! Is this rocket-science? Here is a quick summary of why Americans are the sickest people on Earth.
Disease Care in America is Not Working
As my references above show, America's unique but failing health care system is not just highly suspect, it is a national disgrace. In business and in our personal lives we reward the companies that provide good services at good prices. Yet, when wealthy corporations fail they bribe elected representatives to give them corporate welfare so they can stay in business, robbing from the poor to support the rich. I am concerned that that is the motivation with these health insurance initiatives. The only way to determine this is to request the list of contributions to each of the California legislators from the health care industry--hence my information request #2. Everyone is concerned for children. Everyone wants them to be healthy. But, let's do it right, and let's do it effectively. The state budget is already under great pressure. Should we really commit to a gigantic new state bureaucracy? What effect would this have on education which is 50% of our state's budget?
There is one fundamental reason Americans are so unhealthy--diet & lifestyle. We all know this. Yet, giving people health insurance does nothing to stop disease. At best conventional medicine dispenses expensive controlled drugs to mitigate some symptoms, while creating more disease (called side effects). This does nothing to resolve the underlying cause of the disease (diet & lifestyle). It generates ongoing profit for the medical-industrial-complex, until the victim's death. But, it does nothing to resolve or cure the problem. In fact, it creates many new problems--excessive drug costs, missed time from work, side-effects, ongoing doctor visits, and a lowered quality of life for the victim and his family. Americans have become a country of pill-poppers (both union and non-union drugs). Sadly, there exists an attitude of resignation by the victim. He believes that illness is his fate, that there is no cure, and that he must remain on drugs for the remainder of his life (which will now be shorter due to the drugs he must slowly poison himself with). This attitude of resignation comes about due to a strange attitude we have that doctors are Gods and only THEY can make us well. In fact, our own health is our own responsibility. We need to educate our sick members of society and empower them with knowledge of how to live a healthy life, not drug them. Drugs are very expensive and they do not work. They sometimes mitigate disease symptoms, but they do not cure disease, nor do they create health. We create health by healthy living. This is why HEW said as early as 1977 that "only by preventing disease rather than treating it later, can we hope to achieve any major improvement in the nation's health." Health does not result from taking pills. It never has, and it never will. If God or nature had intended us to eat pills, wouldn't the fruit trees be laden with pills instead of fruit? Most American Doctors see their job as union dope peddlers. (I call prescription drugs "union" drugs, and illicit/recreational drugs as "non-union" drugs. One (union drugs) has the full approval and support of the US elected (and bribed) officials. The other (non-union drugs) also fund the two biggest & utterly corrupt political machines in America (the Democratic Party & the Republican Party), but are considered somehow less legitimate means to bribe our public crooks, even though they are far less harmful to those who use them than "union" drugs.
|Common Designation||My Designation||Vendors||Cost||Effectiveness||Official Purpose||Unofficial Purpose||Danger|
|Pharmaceutical Drug||Union Drug||Usually called "MDs"||Outrageous||Isolated & rare cases of symptom reduction. Absolutely no ability to cure any disease whatever.||To 'cure' you.||To make pharmaceutical companies very rich. To anethetize users into a state of compliance and abandon.||Very high. These toxic substances are "controlled" substances and kill at least 200,000 Americans each year|
|Illicit or Recreational Drug||Non-Union Drug||Usually called "Drug Dealers"||Very low to produce...Government laws 'banning' them create artificially high prices.||Effective in stimulating or depressing users. No ongoing benefit with the possible exception of cannibis oral consumption.||To make you high||Very low. These recreational drugs are responsible for about 10 deaths per year.|
What is needed is a campaign of education & prevention. This, however, has not been co-opted into a highly profitable industry by the medical-industrial-complex. Therefore, for all intents & purposes, it does not exist. Further, the medical-industrial-complex has every motivation to keep people unhealthy so they will keep coming back for more doctor visits, drugs, etc.
(This article needs to be stubbed out further, but due to time constraints, I have to leave the following major themes as "Under Construction."
Going to the Doctor is Dangerous
Expanding health insurance coverage means more people will be maimed or murdered by doctors
Mandatory Health Insurance deprives the individual of his personal freedom and conviction
Mandatory Health Insurance may be unconstitutional
Why many elected representatives won't act in your best interest
This country and this state used to have elected statesmen. They, like many monarchs around the world even today, cared deeply for their constituents, and were not beholden to wealthy corporations. You see, returning to our founding documents, our elected representatives were to represent 'we the people' not the rich corporations. We were to hold a census to determine the correct number of representatives. Representatives were to be apportioned by the number of people, not the number corporations. That is because the representatives were to represent people, not corporations. Today it is all backwards. Many of your elected representatives have forgotten who they represent, evidently because it is much easier to remember a pharmaceutical company that bribes them with $25k than it is a constituent who complains that he can't feed or house his family due to high taxes. The former is rich because of government programs that mysteriously get put into place for the benefit of those wealthy pharmaceutical companies who pay such lavish bribes to your elected representative. The latter is impoverished paying for all this corporate welfare (which cost us 20x the what individual welfare programs do).
But, as bad as things are, I still know that if enough voters write to their representatives, they will sometimes vote for their lawful constituents rather than their corporate sponsors.
I urge you to write to your elected representative. Please share your concerns. Public health is too important to destroy with another government 'solution' to a problem that doesn't exist.
Care for the Children....a Darling Cause....Who would oppose it?
Before the November 2006 election candidate Arnold Schwarzneggar and Phil Angeledes were falling all over themselves trying to show that in their agendas, "It was all for the children." Of course it was NOT in any way corporate welfare for the disease care industries who had paid them and the corrupt political parties they both (respectively) belong to tens of thousands of dollars in what should be called bribes or what common streetwalkers call 'fees.' Knowing, now, as we do, that the LEADING cause of death in America for children is going to a doctor, maybe we need to exercise a little caution over allocating precious tax dollars to the leading cause of death of children!
Wouldn't a program of Education & Prevention work better at much lower cost?
I care about California's future. I have lived here for most of my 53 years (absent during the Vietnam War Debacle and my college years). I may elect to remain here. But, that depends on many factors. Will California become more of a police state? Then, no. Will our taxes go up? Then, no. Will 'King Arnold ' 'erect a multitude of New Offices, and send hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance?" Then, no. California is the most beautiful, exciting and wonderful place to live. Let's make changes that effect our quality of life positively not negatively!
You have your own concerns. I am supply the below letter only as a template.
You can locate your California State Senator and Assemblyman here (click on "Your Senator" link at left of page).
Dear Honorable __________________,
I am very concerned about the popular cause of universal health insurance (whether for all children or all Californians). There is a great need for better health. But, our current healthcare system is failing us. The leading cause of death, disease, and injury in the USA according to the US Dept. of Health (1999) is iatrogenic disease (going to the doctor). I am concerned that increasing the number of insureds in California would increase exposure to doctors, and have a detrimental overall effect on public health. Before voting in an expensive new state bureaucracy to enrich the medical-industrial-complex at the expense of California's working poor, can we get some answers from which to make a clear, correct, and unemotional decision? Specifically, I authorize your office to ask for and publicly disclose the following:
An independent study that would show whether insured populations are healthier than uninsured populations. No such information is presently available...but it is crucial to this decision.
Full disclosure from all California legislators regarding any bribes (also called 'campaign contributions') received from any health-related corporations (Pharmaceutical, Hospital, Medical-Industrial, Health Insurance, Health Administrators).
A Cost/Benefit study comparing the proposed expanding Health Care in CA versus a much less costly program of education & prevention, something a massive federal study says is the ONLY way to improve our public health.
I know as a legislator you must analyze and vote on many complicated bills each year. Universal health insurance, especially for children, is a wildly popular idea. Unfortunately, it is also wildly expensive and expansive. It takes real courage to vote your conscience. I believe the three studies requested above would give you and all California legislators the tools they need to make the best decision on these fiscally perilous programs. It may be that voting NO on universal health insurance is the right decision for both the financial and public health of California. Please keep me informed as to the findings of the research requested.
Yours for health, equity, and equal rights,
Go to Mark's Website
More Articles by Mark