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Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Who is in charge of our health?

An advertisement in Bloomberg Businessweek (Sept 1 edition) starts out: “Ready to engage – with a proactive approach to care management, Aetna focuses on your body and mind, not just your condition.” The text goes on to state: “… what if waiting for something to go wrong, you had a partner who knew you were at risk for a serious health event before you did, informed you and your physician [emphasis is mine] of that fact, and helped you take the appropriate measures?

How in the world did we ever allow ourselves to get into the position of having our health “managed” by our sickness insurance company? Their job is to pay those whom they disparagingly call “providers”, who are in reality professionals who actually have the training to deal with health issues.

My insurance company is certainly not in charge of my health. Medicare will not cover chelation therapy which removes toxic metals from my system. Medicare will not cover nutritional supplements and herbs which can help my immune system to become stronger. Medicare will not even cover routine blood work as often as I need to have it done, when I am entering in to an intensive program of nutritional and supplement management for my developing diabetes – which they will also not cover. Why in the world would I trust an insurance company to care about my health?

Other so-called “health” insurance companies take their lead from Medicare, which seems to set the bar for pricing and for what the insurance companies consider to be “medically necessary” tests. When and where did an insurance company gain the expertise to determine what is medically necessary to promote health?

Unless the insurance companies have radically altered their business model in the past week, it has been clear that their job is to make money, to look out for their investors, and to make sure that Wall Street is happy. It has taken governmental intervention to ensure that someone does not become uninsurable because they have a “pre-existing condition” like diabetes.

I think that we must all bear a part of the responsibility.

Physicians for allowing themselves to be led by the dictates of the companies who pay their bills – the insurance companies.

Patients for allowing themselves to think that health care is something that only needs to happen when you get sick.

Insurance companies for caring more about the bottom line than about their stated goals – to provide insurance against catastrophic illness.

It is time to take charge of our own health. If we don’t care about ourselves, why should anyone else care? We cannot assume that the easy way is the best way. If I put my health under the charge of someone else – the government, the food industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the “health” insurance industry – then I must be content with the results.

One in two men and one is three women are expected to get a diagnosis of cancer within the next two years. Over 50% of our population is headed for diabetes, and all the downstream complications of diabetes – high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, amputation of limbs, blindness, cancer…

If I love myself enough to learn how to cook real food for my family, to avoid chemical contamination put into “food” by the food industry, to exercise on a regular basis, I can pretty much live a healthy life so that I can take good care of my family.

So why would I give up that control? Is it really so much easier to allow someone else to take charge of my life? Of course, if I take charge, then I bear the responsibility for the outcome… If someone else takes charge, I can always be the victim.

It is time to choose – victim or player? We all have that option. We just need to learn how to exercise that skill. Start with supper tonight…

1 comment:

  1. Hello, this is a really splendid blog post. In theory I'd wish to jot down like this too - taking time and real energy to create a brilliant write-up.!. but what can I say.!!!. I procrastinate a lot and by no means appear to obtain anything done. Thank You