Thursday, July 01, 2010

The Obamacare Catastro-Fudge: Worse Than You Think

You are a victim of psychological warfare. After many months of debate in Congress, President Barack Obama's major reform of our health care system was finally enacted. Do you remember that? It didn't happen. There was no “health care” debate, and no “health care” legislation was passed. The “debate” was only about insurance. The “health care system” in the U.S. is so expensive ($2.39T in 2008, $2.5T in 2009; “Introduction to the Health Care Industry”) because we don't have a health care system; instead, we have the Medical Business.

The business model of the “health care” industry – doctors, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies – is the treatment of diseased conditions via drugs and surgery. If you die, that ends the revenue stream. So, they are trying to prevent that outcome. However, if you get healthy – healthy people are , by definition, not sick – that also ends the revenue stream. So, they are trying to prevent that outcome too. They need you to be somewhere between: alive, but sick. Therefore, anything that actually makes you healthy is a threat to them. Instead of the popular term “health care providers”, doctors should be called “practitioners of the Medical Business.” That's the business they're in. Perhaps, by providing the proper context, that would clear up some confusion.

Much in the same way as your car runs on gas, the Medical Business runs on fraud. A couple recent examples:
As reported in Scientific American magazine in 2009, "Over the past 12 years, anesthesiologist Scott Reuben” fabricated “at least 21” studies, which “led to the sale of billions of dollars worth of ... COX2 inhibitors” (Borrell). He's now on leave.
Then, over the winter of 2009-10, we had the swine flu/H1N1 “pandemic”... or did we? According to Gerd Gigerenzer (“director of the Centre for Adaptive Behaviour and Cognition at the Max Planck Institute in Germany”), "The problem is not so much that communicating uncertainty is difficult, but that uncertainty was not communicated. There was no scientific basis for the WHO’s estimate of 2 billion for likely H1N1 cases, and we knew little about the benefits and harms of the vaccination” (qtd. in Cohen). [Emphasis added.] But wait, it gets even worse! “Key scientists advising the World Health Organization on planning for an influenza pandemic had done paid work for pharmaceutical firms that stood to gain from the guidance they were preparing. These conflicts of interest have never been publicly disclosed by WHO, and WHO has dismissed inquiries into its handling of the A/H1N1 pandemic as 'conspiracy theories'.” (Cohen)

What we have a real epidemic of is obesity. Not just an issue of appearance or comfort, the fact of being obese significantly increases the probability of developing a wide range of other diseases, or makes them worse, warns an editorial in the American Heart Association journal Circulation (Matter and Handschin). But the million dollar question is, what is causing this obesity epidemic? The conventional wisdom is “overeating”; the Medical Business would have us believe we're fat because of an increase in calories, especially fat. Logically, then, we should all cut calories by cutting fat from our diet; and this is indeed what most doctors – pardon me, practitioners of the Medical Business – recommend. However, in 2007 science writer Gary Taubes published the results of his investigation of this issue, Good Calories, Bad Calories. In it, he documents the evidence that the vast majority of the increase in calories over the past four decades was from two sources: refined grains and sugar (neither of which is fat.) So the practitioners of the Medical Business are recommending a diet which has been proven to make most people fat and sick! “Ask your doctor if blah blah blah is right for you...”

What if we could significantly reduce costs and improve health, all without the “socialized medicine” that the conservatives are so deathly afraid of? Well, as Gary Taubes work indicates, cutting the grains and sugar instead of dietary fat could tame the obesity monster. Also, a study by Creighton University found that simply getting a little over 1,000 IU's of vitamin D3 per day (about three times the RDA) cut the incidence of all cancers in half. And then there's sleep. The National Sleep Foundation has claimed that the average American got 10 hours of sleep per night before the invention of the light bulb, compared to seven today (Sleep: part 2). Telling a chronically sleep-deprived nation to “eat less and exercise more” isn't just stupid and insane, it's evil.

So you tell the hard-charging go-getters who pretend America is so magically delicious that we can leave people to fend for themselves and it's still their fault when they're not successful, “We can't afford it!”, and then go take a nap in the early afternoon sun. Just don't burn.

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