Health “rewards” that cost us all – How to bankrupt a nation!

I have the privilege to participate in Canadian health care. I love it. I teach principles of healthy lifestyle.

My patients are great to work with.They are more proactive and more interested in their health than the average person. That’s because I am an ND, not an MD.

Due to the length and nature of the appointments I get very detailed information about my patients’ medical info. I get the stories about the sources of health problems, how their MD arrived at the diagnosis, other pertinent complaints and concerns, as well as the tests and treatment that were given by their conventional medical practitioner, all of which was paid by our provincial system.

Expensive, ineffective, wasteful

After hearing thousands of patients’ stories I am deeply saddened to discover how this dinosaur of government-sponsored health care excels at wasting our tax dollars.

I have many examples. Let’s take a case of indigestion. One of my patients told me how his indigestion amounted to thousands of dollars spent on specialists assessment, ultrasound, MRI and gastroscopy in attempt to discover the reason behind it. Yet, his indigestion disappeared after a few days on a different diet and a few probiotics.

This “radical” approach of minimum intervention would cost the taxpayers mere “pennies” if only our medical representatives had better grip on what is needed for good health.

But despite seeing gross potential for savings the government does not seem to be interested. It is surprising to learn that doctors seldom give patients a hint that they may get better through adopting a healthy lifestyle

Don’t ask your doctor for healthy lifestyle advice

Few patients question the decisions of their medical doctors. There is a general belief that “doctor knows what’s best for me”. Even fewer realize that doctors know very little about healthy lifestyle principles. Due to lack of knowledge they seldom mention prevention and fail to suggest non-drug, non-surgery treatment for the same reason.

Even though their suggestions may not make sense to some patients, no one in their clear mind should refuse “free” treatment offered by the government. That would be silly, would’t it? So we take it, even though we may be skeptical about their value. The fact that the cost of the procedures or tests are kept secret from us make it so much easier to splurge.

With lack of knowledge about the cost we do not have any reason to question the value of tests or protocols. With lack of transparency we can’t calculate the basic fee, and definitely not the total cost to the taxpayers. Neither we have sufficient incentives to find alternative solutions.

Doctor warn “it’s pseudoscience”, “charlatans are waiting to rip you off”, “you will get worse and regret it”, or the lowest of all “if so, then you can’t be my patient any more”.

There is even a bigger deterrent. All these health “experiments” would have to be paid for by the individual himself. Not a penny from the government. Not even a credit. 

Congratulations, Ontario has just ensured self-perpetuation of provincial debt and ill-health for the residents. What supposed to be a great health care system turned to be a sick disaster. Ontarians are swimming in debt while no one cares to fund healthy lifestyle.

Kidney cure for the proverbial pennies

One may not realize the enormous waste our system creates unless one sits in my chair and listens carefully. My stomach churns when I hear the slogan “we need more doctors”. I know we don’t. We just need fewer patients.

This is just one of many examples of how a life-long drama can become a minor issue when approached with different medical mindset.

A 60-year old female comes in complaining of recurrent kidney stones. She had six lithotripsies, procedures to break the stones down. These were done over several years together intercepted by many specialized tests.

The woman has been taken care of by a specialist for many years. The specialist, despite his vast knowledge and numerous (I would say, excessive) tests, was unable to stop the “gravel pit” in her kidneys.

Each lithotripsy in Ontario costs approximately $4,000 ($12,000 in the US). This cost does not include ongoing specialist care, prescribed drugs, laboratory tests, loss of productivity, disability days after the procedure (usually 18 days), and post-procedure cost of care.

However, even without including non-direct costs these 6 lithotripsies cost about $24,000. This was generously paid by our provincial health care ..… which is you, the taxpayer. That would all seem fair provided that kidney stones are formed at random, without a cause, or as a result of genetic mishap. But that`s not the case.

Kidney stones have causes that are not only preventable, but also treatable. This case was not any different. After a few near zero cost ìn-office tests the cause was found. Dehydration, acidification, general toxicity, and poor nutritional status. In other words lack of healthy lifestyle.

Specifically they turned out to be uric acid stones, formation of which was promoted by existence of a fatty liver. Fatty liver was in turn caused by a long-term high carbohydrate diet.

Six sessions with a nutritionist at $60/hr not only prevented further formation of stones, reversed fatty liver, but also took care of other symptoms. Total cost less than $500.

Do we really need more doctors and huge budget to foot the bill or we just need to improve doctors’ education and change their approach?

Pitfalls of current systems

The medical system is not focused on prevention and medical doctors are not trained in healthy lifestyle, nor do they have any incentive in doing so. Patient education takes time and doctors are already overbooked, so prescribing a pill or sending patients to a specialist ensures a fast and efficient turnover, which leads to better income.

There is also a general consensus among orthodox practitioners that  degenerative process cannot be reversed and can only be managed. Conventional medicine does not believe that the body can heal on its own, even when a health-favorable environment is established.  The above creates financial problems.

Did you know that in 2009 Canadians paid $95,652 million in income tax? Yet, this sum did not even cover our national health expenditures for the same year, which totaled $116,631 million.

I want to get paid for my healthy lifestyle efforts

It is mind boggling why we still cheer for this outdated, over-inflated, and ineffective “health care” system that not only throws away taxpayers money, but also demotivates people from self-responsibility and promotes life-long dependence on a system that should be known as “sick care”.

Maybe instead of the system that “pays for being sick” we could have a system that “pays for health efforts”. Instead of paying for recurrent lithotripsies due to bad diet should we not be rewarding people for taking yoga classes, cooking at home, investing in dumbbell sets, buying vitamins, visiting qualified alternative health practitioners, taking rock climbing instructions, purchasing organic produce, following exercise DVDs, taking hiking paths, or detoxifying in infrared saunas?

It is sad to see that current system rewards the sick, which are showered with “free” medical help. Unfortunately those who proactively engage in healthy lifestyle are only punished; they have to pay for medical care for the sick as well as their own preventive efforts that are not supported by the government.

It is shocking to realize that an adoption of healthy lifestyle could reduce healthcare costs to the extend that the government would not even have to collect income tax. Yes, poor lifestyle habits combined with an outdated medical system can be that costly.

Further reading on healthy lifestyle for: 

 

References:

 

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