Recently, as in today, a friend posted to facebook a story that is sadly common place in its travesty. His family had a beautiful baby boy, with no complications and minimal interference. After all was said and done, both im and his wife's deductibles were met and they now owe $9500 out of pocket, all for having a normal birth in a U.S. hospital.
Bankruptcies are common place these days for a simple three day hospital stay for say, the flu or some other form of infection. God forbid you have to take an ambulance to the hospital, or you're surely ruined!
But its worse than that. Not only do insurers rake in massive dough, but most of them are located in Europe and so a foreign entity is milking the money from American (like this is anything new). There are really no set price guidelines, so if you ask on the phone how much procedure A or drug B will cost you, its like trying to pull teeth. Nobody seems to be on the same page, and the answer is different everywhere you go. If you DO have insurance, then they will undoubtedly charge more because they know it won't cost you personally so again, its a firesale.
As someone who is a health professional outside of this system, I see firsthand everyday just how ludicrous the system is. Its hard to miss the obvious sales-like approach that many practitioners embark on. You go in with a headache and they immediately want to run an xray that will be billed at $1000. Often times they don't ask rudimentary questions like:
"Have you drank enough water today? Have you had a lot of caffeine lately? Are you sleeping enough? Is your neck tight and stiff?"
Instead its straight to the "cutting edge technology" that most often isn't even needed. And this is all protected under the insurance blanket where people feel like since they aren't paying for the procedure that this money is just magically being created like something out of the federal reserve. But there's a big problem here: We all have to pay for it. Every procedure, surgery, drug, even a $300 chat with the physician is spread out through the insurance "pool" that the Affordable Care Act instituted.
The biggest issue is the repeat-users, those with chronic diseases and conditions requiring expensive medications or procedures monthly. They quickly run through their deductible, and then the rest is a so-called freeroll. Sometimes diabetics can run up several hundred thousand dollars per year, yet only have to pay the deductible of say $10,000. I'm not saying they shouldn't get treatment, but this creates a massive drain of funds from the society as a whole.
Since more and more people are getting sicker and sicker and requiring more care and medications, there is no wonder why the premiums are rising double-digits annually. And still, no one is being held accountable. Sure, there are cries of outrage from phony politicians looking for a vote or two, but nothing of substance ever happens.
When something is proposed, an army of lawyers from pharmaceutical companies are deployed to fight tooth and nail. Because there are psychopaths at the top of the pharmaceutical cartels, they think they're doing the right thing by fighting any legislation challenging their medieval practice. Anytime natural treatments surface with lots of potential for cheap, less invasive care, a second arm is extended: the P.R. firms. A litany of propaganda shills is employed to demonize and eventually push out whoever created the alternative cure. Lots of times it is simply made illegal by the influence of pharmaceutical lobbyists, of which on average there are 10 or more per politician in office and easily takes the cake as the number one lobbying cartel.
Another major issue is the refusal to cover "alternative" practitioners under the insurance umbrella. This makes their services impossible to afford for most people in a struggling economy.
Perhaps the biggest problem is the egotistical nature of medical professionals, by and large. Sure, there are plenty of good-natured and caring doctors out there, but med school largely creates a superiority complex in the medical field.
As someone who is a strength coach and nutritionist, I deal a lot with fixing chronic joint pain and musculoskeletal issues by fixing postural problems and imbalances and removing stress from these joints. Also, I rehab a lot of injuries such as sprained ankles and knee problems.
It pisses me off to no end when I'm at a corporate gym and someone sprains an ankle and some goon runs over and yells "I'm a doctor" and everyone has a sigh of relief. As if 99% of doctors know what us strength coaches do about human anatomy and kinesiology. I'm sorry, but they don't, this isn't part of med school. They may be able to list off all the bones but they don't know how to fix these injuries. Considering that one of the biggest complaints at doctor's office is back pain, this is causing considerable distress to the financial system as the method of choice is, over course, painkillers, ice, and a recommendation to rest. As a strength coach I just face palm anytime I hear this. The last thing someone with back pain needs to do is simply mask it and then lay around, causing more muscle imbalance! Back pain is so easy to treat if you know the proper stretching protocol and corrective exercise. But people bounce for YEARS from doctor to doctor, getting needless surgeries many times that cause them years if not decades of pain...because the original problem is never addressed! Eventually they have pins and screws in their back and numerous surgeries which result in chronic mobility problems and rarely causes relief. This is the vicious cycle of primary care physicians and body ailments. A simple refusal to address the problem because they weren't taught how to fix it in the first place.
Preventative medicine is the newest scam. When I saw Obama's "Precision Medicine Initiative" I actually was hopeful. Wow, they might teach people how to be healthy!
Nope. It was a clever ploy by drug companies to administer medications BEFORE the ailment hits. That's what they call "preventative medicine". So the drug cartels create even more customers because people that are currently healthy but "at risk" for, say, high cholesterol are given statins before it even occurs.
Preventative health should be two things. 1) lifestyle guidance and nutrition changes to prevent these risk factors from advancing and 2) training in how to keep the body healthy via proper exercises and if need be, referred to specialists such as myself that teach people to be healthy BEFORE they get the back pain, or tension headache, or knee issues, or whatever.
The whole system is a scam folks. Mainstream healthcare should be reserved for one thing and one thing only and that is acute care. You break you're femur? Sure, we need the surgeon and S.T.A.T. Food poisoning? Bring out the antibiotics. Heart attacks? Yes, we need the specialists to deal with these acute and life-threatening injuries. But besides that, its up to the individual to find information on preventative care and proper lifestyle choices. The number one thing that I strive with my clients is to keep them out of the vicious medical system at all costs. And I know from experience that this is not only possible it is extremely necessary.
The last part of this scam is the lack of education throughout school and beyond about keeping yourself healthy. In my opinion, every school should have at least one nutritional course and one course on proper exercise and other important factors such as proper breathing, perhaps meditation, and most importantly, mental health...as in how to naturally alleviate things like depression and anxiety, which are completely controllable with the right professional. Yet kids learn nothing, except perhaps a stray gym class where they are active but really not taught anything about human movement. There are no nutritional studies, hell, most people don't even get the most basic principles of nutrition.
Again, the system is a scam by design by the pharmaceutical / agro-industrial complex which wants millions of customers and doesn't give a shit about whether people learn how to avoid them. It is against their interests for people to be healthy, period.
Because a nation of healthy, critical thinking, educated people simply wouldn't need to use the healthcare industry nearly as much, and that would dig deep into the pocket books of gigantic pharmaceutical and medical supply companies, that depend, just like any corporation, on increasing share value for their constituents at all costs.