Healthcare, Bailouts and Becoming an American

December 11, 2016

The current economic crisis in America and around the world has been in all the prophesies from the Mayans, Nostradamus and the Bible, but do we have to accept our presumed fate, or can we become the creators of the solution?

The prophesies point to a calendar time that coincides with our present year and depicts the years 2009 through 2012 as being times of major transformation. If we haven’t listened and learned from our mistakes; If we have moved away from God and toward greed, war, and hatred, then we can expect major catastrophes and probably a nuclear holocaust. As 2008 and a presidency winds down, we are seeing the initial smoke to this inevitable firestorm. But it doesn’t have to be this way.

America has been the land of the free and the home of the brave. We fought a revolution to free ourselves from a king’s bondage and mustered our strength to help friendly nations defeat pathological aggressors. We were, at one time, the champions of Liberty with the greatest economy and the highest hopes of achieving what many called the American Dream. That was before the failed conflict of Korea, and the larger failed conflict of Viet Nam.

World War II put Americans to work making airplanes. At the end of World War II, we greeted our heroes, rebuilt our families, painted our houses and woodwork white, got the newest Chevy, bought a television, and went back to work for corporate America. Our healthcare was taken care of by our employers, our pension plans formed with an assumption that a government plan, Social Security, would take care of us in our retirement, and our kids could go to college, learn how to pay back student loans, and become upwardly mobile in a career. We were strong and powerful, the greatest country in the world. We went to church. And we thanked God.

When North and South Korea began their war, benevolent America, who had sold planes and artillery to the Chinese, went to help South Korea fight China and the North. It was a fight against Communism. It was a conflict between socializing a country to dependence, and freeing a people to strive for excellence. No one won. A line was drawn and the conflict continued. America began to change. Those in power found ways to capitalize on conflict, making money, brokering deals, and maintaining a façade of high ideals and Western culture. The American people lost touch with politics and immersed themselves in I love Lucy and the Honeymooners.

Viet Nam was also a conflict between North and South, freedom and Communism. America sent advisors to both sides, and then sent sons and daughters to fight. Those who stayed behind rioted in our streets and grassroots movements were formed from the chaos; The women’s movement, the Black movement, the Gay movement, and the Anti-war movement were all symbols of our internal struggle for identity and personal freedom. When our heroes came home, we spat on them and called them names. We painted our houses colors once seen in an LSD dream, traded television for heavy metal, and tried to lose ourselves in a marijuana cloud of detachment. Many stopped going to church. Many stopped tanking God.

The Women’s movement became a struggle for equal pay, the Black movement a struggle for slave reparations, the Gay movement a struggle between the working and middle class, and the Anti-war movement a consistent belief. Corporate America stopped paying for all healthcare and offered co-pay plans. Pensions became less lucrative and transformed to individual retirement accounts to boost Wall Street and provide a false sense of security. Those in power, once again, capitalized on the dichotomy in America and abroad by brokering deals and aiding the pharmaceutical and oil companies so they could make more money. Americans, after all, were getting sick more often, driving more miles to find work, heating larger homes, and losing more of their paychecks to the government.

Television and radio became propaganda machines for anything and everything considered decadent, and American dealmakers began importing more products to feed the masses while discovering they could make more money by exporting jobs to other countries. Over the counter drugs manufactured here and abroad began filling the grocery shelves as Americans suffered from stress, headaches, backaches and the Asian flu. Health care costs began a steady climb as technology became the main instrument of diagnosis and treatment.

Oil and drug companies were producing at record rates, and dumping their leftovers into lakes, streams and buried fields. Nuclear energy was more developed, and the waste from new plants was buried beneath new housing projects and schools. Americans were getting sicker and their children were dying. Those in power capitalized on this trend once again by allowing drug lobbyists in Washington to dictate policy. Congressmen and women followed the lobbyists, and then left to work for the corporations and to garner extraordinary paychecks. Senators and congressmen made sure they had special health care plans, affordable and inclusive, while the average American struggled to put food on the table after paying medical bills. The water used for bathing and drinking was now filled with more than seven hundred different chemicals, most of them toxic and carcinogenic, and Americans were getting sicker.

By 1979, brokered deals, weapons, and secrets had been shared with enough countries to allow fanatics to begin a different kind of war against Christian and powerful America. And by 2001, these same fanatics found a way to use American airplanes, the technology of a forgotten war, to begin the final destruction of a God-chosen superpower. The USA was ready to fight back, to once again take on evil for their country, and many heeded the call. But fear and distrust, a media machine bent on anti-American messages for personal gain, and corporate greed that reached into every pocket, became a dominant theme. Anti-depressants were the new drug, television sex the new past time, and music filled with hate the constant hypnotic.

America is undergoing a dramatic shift in healthcare. The cost of going to a regular MD or hospital is getting more and more expensive. Greed is not the only reason for these expenses. Medical malpractice lawsuits, medical insurance for risky procedures, pharmaceutical drug reactions, deaths with accompanying lawsuits, and expensive diagnostic equipment, are all escalating the cost of health care to the consumer.

Health insurance, once a perk offered by small and large businesses and corporations, is becoming a thing of the past. Large corporations such as General Motors complain that health insurance for employees cost them more per year than steel does for the cars they make. American unions drive up the cost of making cars, and American carmakers end up on the brink of bankruptcy, flying to Washington, D.C. in expensive corporate jets and asking for hand-outs. Consumers are being forced into providing their own, expensive health insurance, and have not yet gotten away from the mindset that health insurance should cover everything. Car insurance doesn’t pay for cigarette burns on the upholstery or spilled chocolate shakes on the floor mats, but consumers have been used to employers picking up the tab for health insurance and expecting that insurance to cover every hangnail or headache. Those changes and the increased costs have moved consumers to seek more preventive care and alternatives to traditional, expensive procedures. Alternative medicine is often less expensive, equally or more effective, and produces less harmful side effects, as was evidenced by the flurry of pharmaceutical drugs the last few years that were finally removed or banned after being prescribed to hundreds of thousands of patients. People’s trust in Western medicine is diminishing, and their relief in finding alternatives is rising. Major institutions are now doing large numbers of studies on alternative medicines, including herbal remedies, bodywork, meditation, dietary changes, and many others. Randomized, controlled studies are available on almost every type of alternative healing practice, and they typically show good results.

High-deductible policies and Health Savings Accounts allow people to have Western medicine waiting in the wings when they have serious health problems that require expensive drugs, tests, and surgery. But until then, they are able to use alternative medicine as the best service for prevention and smaller day-to-day health problems. Alternative medicine provides a “first line of defense,” while Western medicine provides the expensive, dangerous, but necessary backup. We will always need the surgeon. It is the physician that we seek.

The internet and World Wide Web have become the main resource for consumers searching for health answers, but there is a tremendous amount of misinformation about healthcare on the Internet. Much of it comes from well-meaning entrepreneurs duped into a multi-level marketing (MLM) scheme who try to pitch some health elixir or treatment.

A second source of health misinformation comes from the Western medical establishment seeking to discredit alternative medical therapies that could take significant revenues away from their invested therapies.

A third source of misinformation comes from the anecdotes of individuals who experienced relief from one therapy or another, but who do not (and cannot) actually represent a proven cure to a particular health problem.

The reason people are turning to the Internet in such numbers is due to a lack of trust in existing medical institutions. Doctors are viewed with suspicion. Will my doctor let me die by not revealing an alternative therapy that could help me? Does my doctor even understand what alternative therapies are? Is my doctor truly holistic, or is he just saying that to keep me as a patient? Is my doctor getting kickbacks from the cute, young, female pharmaceutical rep who visits him twice a month? Big medicine has become big business, and the number one concern is no longer the patient, it’s dollars and cents. But hospitals and doctors are not the only things that Americans distrust.

People in government and in society seem to feel that some brand of socialized medicine will be the magic solution for America’s healthcare problems. Socialized, universal healthcare will not work in America, and Americans know it. America needs to find a way to insure every single person in this country, but socialized medicine is not the cure for this illness. Forget the cures. Find the cause.

All of the problems mentioned here are symptoms. The cause of the crisis in health care lies in the disempowerment of the people and the failure of people to take responsibility for their health. Alternative and holistic health options have been feared and denied, but doctors will soon have no choice. Consumers are demanding prevention and alternatives, and western medicine is slowly integrating these therapies. Health insurance will eventually be a thing of the past as people stay well or discover alternatives to illnesses. Hospital costs will be forced lower as only surgical emergencies and back-up therapies will be incorporated. Pharmaceutical companies and their related agencies will no longer drive Congress to do their will as people realize pills are not the answer.

The changes will be uniquely American, but only if Americans claim their heritage and begin acting like Americans. We need to remember that we are what make America the land of the free. The Declaration of Independence was never intended to make us dependent on the government. The free enterprise system was never intended to keep everyone poor, but equal. We have the freedom to choose, but are we still the land of the brave? Do we have the courage to truly change what we have helped to create? Do we need to be reminded that we are one nation, under God?

Becoming an American can stop the crisis, the bail outs, the hope of hand outs. Changing the health care system can be one of the biggest steps to renewed freedom.

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