Saturday, April 25, 2009

Offering Solutions to the Health Crisis

Offering Solutions to the Health Crisis

Solving the health crisis will require nothing less than a societal paradigm shift away from a disease-based, after-the fact care model to a model that embraces and encourages personal responsibility for lifetime, lifestyle health and wellness.
This paradigm shift is similar in many ways to the current push for, and shift to, a Green Economy.
To break our addiction to fossil fuels and reliance on foreign oil and to create the paradigm shift to Green renewable energy, several things had to happen. Notably among them: 
1.      dramatic, imminent, potentially catastrophic global climactic change
2.      unprecedented global increase in demand, peak oil and skyrocketing prices
3.      9/11 coupled with American dependency on Islamic nations for oil
4.      President Obama’s determination to make Green, renewable energy, profitable.
 The paradigm shift to health and wellness will happen as increasing sickness and costs:
1.      drive the national deficit and debt to the point of creating catastrophic consequences to our economy and compromise national security
2.      cripple American industry and our ability to compete in the global economy
3.      bankrupt Medicare, Medicaid, hospitals, federal-state and local governments, families and individuals.
Among other things, to create this shift to a health-based system, we will have to:
1.      Institute campaign finance reform to remove corporate influence and ownership of politicians and public policies.
2.      Pass legislation to regulate or eliminate corporate lobbying and influence in the crafting of legislation that protects their interest over that of the public.
3.      Mandate all health care public policy meetings include consumer/public representation.
4.      Restore and rebuild the FDA as an independent government watchdog agency to protect the public. Ban pharmaceutical funding of the FDA.
5.      Hold the pharmaceutical and medical device industries accountable; forfeiting ALL profits derived from creatively flawed and manipulated research that creates products that harm.
6.      Restore scientific integrity by enforcing strict standards and independent oversight to scientific research, discovery, reporting and media sensationalism.
7.      Require that all reporting on drug benefits, by pharmaceutical companies, medical journals, the FDA, and the media, be in honest absolute values, not self-serving and purposefully deceptive relative values.
8.      Put an end to all ‘routine’ medical screenings that generate huge costs and profits but have no known scientific evidence to support their use. In fact the evidence shows that while these screening do lead to further unnecessary tests and procedures, they do not lead to any decrease in overall mortality and morbidity. (ie: PSA testing and mammograms).
9.      Ban the hospital practices of cost-shifting and overcharging of the uninsured.
10.  Restore IRS Tax codes to require so-called non-profit hospitals, with tax-exempt status, to “operate to the extent of its financial ability” to provide services to those unable to pay. And, put reasonable limits on executive compensation.
11.  Ban insurance companies from charging the unemployed, self-employed, individuals and families prohibitive premiums far in excess of corporate and group rates.
12.  Create public policies that support the health and wellness we want to achieve
a.       Ban all direct to consumer advertising of all drugs and diagnostic procedures.
b.      Subsidize local farms that grow whole foods, making fruits and vegetables more affordable.
c.       Stop subsidizing Agra-businesses that grow corn and soy as cattle fodder. And, stop paying farmers not to grow.
d.      Re-define food as natural and unprocessed. Tax all processed foods to help educate and guide consumers towards healthier choices.
e.       Put an end to the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) jurisdiction over school lunch programs. Ban corporate syllabi and their influence on food pyramids and food choices. Ban corporate presence in the school classrooms and cafeterias
f.        Institute requirements for health-wellness and fitness curricula and activities Restore recess and gym requirements
g.       Build safe walk-ways and bike paths and promote their use.
h.       Fund Planned Parenthood, early childhood education and facilities that provide pre-natal and post-natal care and health education.
i.         Require supermarkets, convenience stores, and restaurants to include a percentage of their inventory or menu as whole foods, fruits and vegetables in order to be licensed.
j.        Create algorithms of care to guide doctor’s decisions, creating more consistent and safer care, while cutting down on unnecessary care and overtreatment.
14.  Require television public airwave stations to air public service announcements that promote personal responsibility, healthy foods and lifestyle choices.
15.  Institute tort reform to hold lawyers accountable for frivolous medical lawsuits.
16.  Make health and wellness profitable to industry and individuals.
a.       Break-up the merging and empire-building general hospitals’ and so-called not-for-profit hospitals’ monopoly in health care. Repeal any laws that restrict the creation of doctor-run or consumer-driven hospitals that can compete on quality and cost of care allowing for the creation of viable alternatives and specialty hospitals.
b.      Require that the FDA reverse or remove its directive that states ‘only drugs can cure disease’ to open entrepreneurial competition to pharmaceutical companies to find natural cures and promote lifestyle as the ultimate antidote to disease.
c.       Create tax credits and insurance premium discounts for health and wellness expenses.
d.      Provide higher reimbursement to general practitioners and health focused complementary care physicians who promote health and wellness through quality patient care and education.
This list is clearly incomplete. Many of the ideas require further development and more ideas will be generated as I learn more. Our transition to health will require input from many sources, especially the public.
I invite your comments and suggestions.


Anonymous said... mind is on overload. Obviously you've been thinking on these issues a long time. In my opinion your thinking is clear and directed in the way the health and wellness care should be steered. You should bring these ideas forward to local, state, and federal government for endorsement.

However like everything, money and big business will not be happy. After the proposed changes were implemented, I believe their to be more opportunity for business and professionals to grow and compete within this new era of health and wellness care.


Anonymous said...

Hi, good post. I have been thinking about this topic,so thanks for writing. I’ll certainly be coming back to your site.

Anonymous said...

c beaudin says:

May 4, 2009 at 12:26 pm

All that you have written is TRUTH, and needs to get out there so people become aware,change is possibe but the awareness comes first