Why Health Care Will Not Be Solved in Washington

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This is a different topic than I usually write about, but one that I am passionate about. As you may know, our current system of healthcare is unsustainable.  Currently, health care is one-fifth of our nation’s GDP (gross domestic product).  In his book Unconventional Medicine Chris Kresser explains, “One in two Americans now has a chronic disease, and one in four has multiple chronic diseases. Chronic disease causes seven of ten deaths in the U.S. and accounts for 86 percent of healthcare expenditures.” (Kresser, 50)

I have a recent story to share with you. On Christmas morning my wife was slicing some sweet potatoes with the mandolin and sliced the tip of her thumb. It was just enough to where we knew we needed a few stitches. She was not going to lose her thumb or anything like that. So being Christmas, everything was closed, so we ended up having to go to the Summerville ER. They put in four stitches and gave her a tetanus shot. They did a great job by the way.  Keep in mind my wife did not get any X-rays, IV fluids, medications, scans, or anything like that. I am not saying she needed any of that.  The amount charged to our insurance was over $3500.  This blew me away.  It remains to be seen what the insurance will pay and make us pay for this visit.

I said to my wife the other day, “No wonder people without insurance try to do things on their own and end up with bad infections.”  They don’t want to pay $3500 to have four stitches put in.  I, for one, will not stand for this kind of overinflated cost. I do not know all the ins- and- outs, but I do know the cost has gotten way out of hand for simple care like my wife received.

I want to point out that if you get cut, shot, or break something the ER is very effective at getting you back on track, but these astronomical costs are insane. Now, as far as our current medical system caring for chronic disease, it may be best to find treatment elsewhere.

Chris Kresser also mentions in his book that Washington recognizes the symptom (a failing healthcare system), but the diagnosis (not enough insurance coverage) and the prescription for solving it (more insurance coverage) were incomplete. I agree with this. I believe relying on insurance coverage to solve this issue is making healthcare more and more expensive.  I am not saying health insurance cannot be part of the solution, but trying to tweak our current system is like “rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic as it inexorably sinks into the ocean.” (Kresser, 273)

David Goldhill explains in Catastrophic Care, “The factors that most predict your health are your wealth, education, and lifestyle – not your access to healthcare.  These personal and societal investments are the real ‘preventative’ care, yet they are buried under our growing demand for tests and procedures.” (Goldhill 2013, 26.)

“So, Coach Brian, what do you suggest?” 

If you are starting to have health issues and you are not happy with the answers you have been getting from your doctor. I want you to know there is hope and you can take back control of your health.

I would seek out a functional medicine practitioner in your area. You can visit the IFM certified provider list to find one in your area.

What is functional medicine and why would I want a provider who is trained in this?

In Kresser’s words: “Functional Medicine offers a methodology for addressing the root cause of chronic problems, so patients can get well – and stay well – without unnecessary drugs and surgery.” (Kresser, 275)

I will be talking more about this in a later article. I just turned forty this last October, and although, I have no current health issues I am going to be visiting a Naturopathic doctor named Sherri Jacobs, ND, so I can make sure I am doing what I need to do to keep any future problems at bay. For myself, I think it is time to dig deeper under the surface before anything gets a chance to take root.  Functional medicine can be more of an investment up front, but it will help you to get to what is causing the problem and not treat the problem with a band-aid like our current model is set up to do. With the old model, you will have to come back again and again because the root of the problem was never addressed. Even if your insurance is paying for everything, think about all the time you are having to spend in hospitals and doctors offices.  That is one way the traditional way of doing things can get more expensive over time.

I want you to take back control of your health and finding a functional medicine provider is a way you can do that. They will spend more time with you and build a relationship with you, not hand you a prescription and send you on your way. They will order procedures and labs only when necessary instead of for the reason of protection from legal action. Many test and procedures carry added risk and extra expense, and functional medicine practitioners take this into account when helping you get your life back.

If you are not at the point of needing a functional medicine practitioner and would like to work on lifestyle and learn more about how to keep yourself well then do not hesitate to contact Bethany or Brian Knight at KnightWellnessCoaching.com. We offer health and life- coaching to get you back on track with your health and feel your best again. We want to help you live your life to the fullest, don’t let your health get in the way of that.

Until next time we wish you the best of health.

Coach Brian