Thursday, September 1, 2011

Health care reform: Revolution or evolution - What did we get from the affordable care act?

So what do we Americans really want when it comes to health care? Wouldn't it be nice to have health care reform that provided affordable health insurance for everyone and shifted the focus of the health care industry from managing diseases to promoting wellness and vitality? Sure, we were outraged by the fact that this did not happen, but we're still asleep at the wheel when it comes to taking action to change this situation.

What has become more clear with each passing day is that without radical health care reform, the future of medicine in the US will continue to operate far below its potential. Quality of health care will continue to be split into two groups. The first group will provide mediocre health care at best. Of course, it will be offered to the uninsured middle and lower socioeconomic classes. Under the Affordable Care Act there is no increase in funding to pay for this! So what do you suppose will happen to the already poor quality of Medicaid health care? Both the quality and quantity of health care will have to be compromised. It will be nothing comparable to the best private health care plans such as what Congress and the wealthy have. Millions more will be pressured to choose a plan from state-run exchanges that present health insurance plans from the same old greedy private insurers, and untold millions more will not have access to any insurance at all!

The second group gets the best health care possible. Of course only the privileged and the wealthy can get this insurance program because it is unaffordable for the rest of us. Money talks! It gets you in the hospital you want, the doctor you want, the tests you need in a timely way, any treatment there is, and there are no exclusions, long lines, or red tape that gets in the way of getting the best care possible on the planet. Overall, however, for the rest of us there is no sensible reason to predict that we can rise significantly above our present lowly WHO ranking of 37th in the world in overall quality of care. We need radical health care reform for this to happen and that has never been an option.

It's been said that our thinking has to evolve to a new and higher level if we want real change in any area, including health care reform. So what is that new and higher level, and how do we achieve it?

This higher level could evolve from pondering and taking action to resolve questions like: Can we act at the grass roots level to develop healthy programs that would prevent disease and promote wellness? Do we need government to take care of our health care needs? Can we take responsibility for taking care of ourselves by living a healthy lifestyle and stopping the massive pollution of the planet? We have become so brainwashed that we believe we can rely on the medical profession to take care of us if we don't?
It is time we begin appreciating that as consumers we have a lot of power. We have been so vulnerable to advertising that have forgotten to think for ourselves and make intelligent choices about what we purchase. We have fallen victim to clever advertising that we know does not tell the truth and entices us to buy products that are often unhealthy, unnecessary, and environmentally unfriendly. We have forgotten that corporate America is completely dependent on how we spend our dollars.

So, how can we change this scenario? Should we clean out Congress and replace it with honest politicians by voting every incumbent out of office? At least it takes a certain amount of time for the new faces in DC to become corrupt. Is it realistic to create legislation prohibiting Big Pharma and the insurance industry from its disregard for service and its greed for profit that has finally become so obvious? Is it possible to safeguard our precious medical research by prohibiting the publication of scientific literature because of conflicts of interest that lead to lies or distortion of research data? Can we force Congress to provide the financial support the FDA needs to make it an independent agency that can regulate Big Pharma without having an incestuous partnership that jeopardizes its regulation of drugs, cosmetics, household products, and even the food we eat? Can we pass laws that prevent the pollution that puts us at risk for poor health and injures our environment? Is the answer going to come from legislation or through inspiration; from law enforcement or education? Or both?

Pogo was right after all; we have found the enemy and they are us! It has finally become clear that we are waging a war against ourselves! We have become brainwashed to worship the almighty dollar and have forgotten our true purpose in life -- that of loving one another and living in community where we all pitch in and take responsibility for our social, economic, political, legal, spiritual, and medical practices. We have forgotten that true community embraces and rewards for giving and graciously accepting, but not for narcissism and taking. We have forgotten the principles of the village where every person is interconnected and an inseparable part of the whole. We have replaced this philosophy with one based on competition and have placed our own self-serving desires above that of the community. So where do we go from here?

The pitiful squeaks of the enlightened few are barely decipherable above the powerful roar of corporate America. Today's politicians beg us for votes and make grandiose promises to serve us as their primary objective, but in the final analysis their pocketbooks and their hearts are owned by corporate America.

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