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A Single-Payer Federal Health System Structured to Promote Wellness

A wellness lifestyle is not a faith-based philosophy. It is a lifestyle shown by incontrovertible evidence to be effective at reducing the need for medical care while boosting quality of life. It is a disciplined approach characterized by reason, motivated by exuberance, grounded by athleticism and made possible by liberty. Liberty is viewed as the exercise of maximum personal and societal freedom.

Despite the Obama Administration’s success in getting the “The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (PPACA) through Congress, medical care costs are higher than ever and expected to increase even more. Drastic action is needed.

The time has come for a revolutionary perspective, if we are ever to become healthy here (the U.S.) and healthy now (within the next couple years). Attention must be given both to the organization and to the purposes of an integrated health care system. What we have is a fragmented medical delivery business. It’s time to seek a new foundation for a system capable of supporting a national goal of citizen wellness.

The next health care debate should be addressed to absolute reform of the health sector from start to finish, from bottom to top. We need three separate but equal and interdependent goal parts:

1) vastly better health status outcomes;
2) dramatic cost reductions; and
3) improved medical care delivery.

Before continuing, please take a quick two-question quiz. Question one, and please make your best estimate right off the proverbial “top of your head,” is: How much does the average American spend annually for medical care, including drugs? OK?

Make a guess.

The answer is $7,960 per person, as of 2009. Let’s call it $8,000 a year – it’s probably closer to $9,000, now that two years have passed since the massive amounts of data needed to do this were analyzed. That is the average spent by every man, woman and child. How much did YOU spend on medical care last year? Chances are, it was not even close to this amount. The high average cost is due to extraordinary bills incurred by a small segment of the population-the aged, the afflicted and the masses who live worseness lifestyles and thus suffer terrible illnesses that otherwise might have been avoided. On second thought, maybe this latter category encompasses a majority of American adults.

One more question: What do you suppose other nations spend on health care? Well, the answer is “nothing close to what we spend.” The country that invests the most on medical care after us is Norway-$5,352 per person. Next in line of big health sector spenders are England ($3,487) and France ($3,978). (Source: “Health at a Glance 2011,” OECD Indicators, November 23, 2011.)

The practical implications of this American medical largess is that expensive medical care limits all other federal initiatives, it raises employer costs and thus inhibits salary increases while adding to our crushing Federal deficit.

To say it’s “the best in the world,” a claim ritually put forward by all Republicans vying for that party’s presidential nomination, is not consistent with our health status relative to other Western nations. We are spending far more while doing much less well.

No independent health care experts believe our system is the best; most in fact think it’s dreadful. A report from the OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) addressed this claim. The OECD concluded that claims that America’s health system is the “best in the world” “are not true.” (Maria Bartiromo, “Is America Faltering as a Health Care Leader?” USA Today, One on One, October 18, 2011.)

How, specifically, is it not true? Why do world health leaders fail to recognize what seems self-evident to patriotic, god-fearing, America-loving Republican candidates? Why do these foreigners miss recognizing the obvious-that ours is the best health care system in the whole wide world?

Let me review very briefly a few of the reasons that might influence their thinking:

* The focus of our system in on treatment, not prevention or wellness promotion.

* The costs of our medical services are greater than anywhere else.

* Our system is organized to deliver the most expensive services available, often when not even needed, which can have serious side effects.

* U.S. life expectancy is 78.2 years; Japan’s is 83 years and Western nations average 79.5 years. Republicans wave the flag of American “exceptionalism.” We’re exceptional all right. With respect to health, we’re exceptionally ill-not even average healthy. With respect to our system and to our health status, we rank with Chile and the Czech Republic. (Source: Robert J. Samuelson, “A grim diagnosis for our ailing health care system,” Washington Post, November 27, 2011.)

* We have fewer doctors per capital than other developed nations. This is not necessarily an unfavorable indicator, though we might benefit from a better ratio of primary care to specialized doctors. We could most benefit if we led the way not so much with more medical doctors but rather with more wellness coaches, educators, programs and incentives.

* The U.S. medical system favors more expensive procedures. Knee replacement surgery costs more in the U.S. ($14,946) than in France ($12,424) and Canada ($9,910). The same is true of most other categories, such as MRI exams and angioplasties. Yet, despite high costs, we do more of all these and other costly procedures.

We do derive value for the big bucks invested treating multiple disease conditions exacerbated by high-risk lifestyles. Patients with breast cancer have a longer survival rate by a factor of about six percent, though we fare less well treating diabetes and asthma. (Editorial, USA Today, “Dutch Treat – a medical system with full coverage, lower costs,” October 19, 2011.)

In summary, the U.S. health care system is, in fact, the best in the world-for doctors, hospitals, insurance and drug companies. Not, unfortunately, for individual consumers or American society.

Fee-for-service reimbursement encourages doctors to administer more services than necessary, adding to their profit and patient risks. Government oversight is minimal, despite the insistence of Republican politicians that medical care would be cheap and we’d all live forever if only government got out of the way of public-spirited free enterprise job creators.

My recommendation for better health now and here is a bit radical, but these are radically hazardous times. To control costs and promote health status, the U.S. needs a government-administered single-payer system. We need a national campaign to create a system that promotes REAL wellness education, lifestyle practices and socio-cultural supports. Little fixes will not reduce costs nor promote well-being. The situation is dire, financially and in terms of a population growing fatter and sicker. Revolutionary reforms must find their way to the negotiating table. The challenge is epic-it involves a fifth of the economy and 100 percent of the nation’s health.

Robert Green Ingersoll, America’s greatest orator of the 19th century, said: “If, with all the time at my disposal, with all the wealth of the resources of this vast universe, to do with as I will, I could not produce a better scheme of life than now prevails, I would be ashamed of my efforts and consider my work a humiliating failure.” Well, our challenge is far less daunting than producing “a better scheme of life. Out task is to design a better medical system that costs less than the one we have but does vastly more to promote health here and now, as soon as possible.

A Nussentials Third Party Review – Just Another Health And Wellness MLM?

If you are looking into the Nussentials MLM opportunity, here is some information that may prove helpful. Nussentials is a true MLM company, meaning it is not some sort of pyramid scheme or other scam. The president is Phil Mims. Mr. Mims has extensive Network Marketing industry experience, having built organizations of hundreds of thousands of people. If your passion is health and wellness, Nussentials is more than just another health and wellness MLM. It is worth a serious look.

It is still a fairly new company. It was started in Texas in 2006. If you are going to be in the health and wellness niche, you need medical credibility. Nussentials has this credibility. Their Medical Advisory Board has some serious credentials, and they are detailed on the website. This medical experience is an excellent marketing tool for Nussentials. You can’t just say your products are healthful. You have to be able to back it up.

Nussentials offers a wide range of products based on all-natural stabilized rice bran. Rice bran is the layer of the grain right under the husk. Most of the rice we eat doesn’t have the bran. 60% of the nutrients in rice are found in the bran. If you have eaten brown rice, it is easy to tell the difference between it and white rice. It’s light brown and has a nutty flavor; it is also chewier. In processing white rice, the bran is made into animal feed and other products. A great deal of natural nutrition is being used for other purposes. Antioxidants, essential fatty acids, B vitamins, Vitamin E with tocotrienols and tocopherols, and much more is lost in this processing. Nussentials makes it available in its products.

Their product line is not a traditional line of vitamins and minerals. With Nussentials everything is based on all natural rice bran. This could be a Unique Selling Proposition, something most MLM businesses lack. The product line includes an energy product called Alert!, a heart healthy cardiovascular fortifier called Cardio!, a weight management product called Less!, plus skin supplements, healthy coffee, a pomegranate drink, and more. The product line seems to be of high quality, and their website shows the science behind the products documented by third parties.

There are multiple income sources with Nussentials. There is upfront bonus income, and the other basic category is residual income. The compensation plan is a variation on the forced matrix. This one is a 3×8. This means that there are only 3 slots available directly under a distributor on the first level. Anyone else you sign up has to go in the organization of one of these three people. This is called “spillover” in MLM comp plan geekspeak. Because of this spillover, you can actually earn money from distributors that are placed below you by people above you. This is a good thing. The 8 in the 3×8 means that the matrix goes down to 8 levels. As with many MLM comp plans, the larger commission rates are down a few levels. With Nussentials you’ll make the highest commission rates in levels 4 and 5. If this puts you off, you probably don’t want to be in a Network Marketing company. Large income earners have organizations much deeper than 4 or 5 levels.

For someone looking at a health and wellness MLM, this all should sound pretty good. But it isn’t enough. A solid, reputable company is very important, but you’ll need more. Your level of success will depend on your ability to attract new reps to you and your business. How do you plan to generate leads when friends and family run out? Answer this question right and you’ll be on your way.

Health Insurance For All – Panacea or Peril?

There is a strong push for all Americans to gain access to health insurance. While this may sound logical and beneficial on the surface, we must dig deeper. The real issue is that we want all American children, pregnant women, young parents, the self-employed, the working poor, and the elderly to have access to quality healthcare. The problem is this is not what universal health coverage will provide. There are enormous problems inherent in the current system of healthcare coverage, and extending a flawed system to more people is shortsighted.

The current system reimburses services that are administered by conventional medicine while ignoring effective treatments with the potential to reverse or eliminate diseases. Ensuring adequate nutrients to assist the body to rid itself of illness is not covered, nor are detoxification strategies to safely eliminate the deadly toxins that accumulate in our bodies over our lifetimes. These two factors are the root cause of virtually all chronic illnesses that plague our people and threaten to bankrupt our healthcare system. Yet these services are neglected in the current payer system, which serves to benefit the expensive patented drugs and costly diagnostic procedures currently employed in medical care.

By extending healthcare coverage to all, we are extending the ability to afford more costly medications with dangerous side-effects while failing to provide effective prevention of disease through less costly measures such as providing all children with wholesome food that is not laced with pesticides, life-giving water that is not loaded with toxic chemicals, and access to medical providers who test for and treat nutrient deficiencies and toxic exposures before (and after) diseases have a chance to develop. (Many of these preventive and proven medical tests are not covered by the conventional system)

Extending the current medical model serves only to use our tax dollars to expand the market that pharmaceutical and medical diagnostic corporations exploit with their expensive products and services. Patients with existing coverage are forced to pay out of pocket for the services they really want and need when they become ill. These services are not part of the conventional medical system and are rarely covered.

While attending a pharmaceutically supported meeting earlier this week, an expensive new medication was being discussed. When the physician assistants in attendance inquired about the cost of the new medication, which was an outrageous 3 dollars per pill, the pharmaceutical agent simply stated not to worry about the price because it would be covered by insurance. I have heard this message repeatedly from drug reps, but it is not an adequate response. These pills may be covered by insurance, but we are indirectly paying the price through our astronomical health insurance premiums if we are fortunate enough to be covered. So by prescribing or taking costly medications, we are indirectly responsible for raising premiums and shutting more and more people out of the health care system.

It is time for a change. It is time we spent our hard-earned money on techniques to prevent illness rather than costly treatments that line corporate pockets. Each American citizen should be provided with a water purification system or have a public water supply that is not loaded with toxic chemicals. Toxic releases should be further reduced to insure that each American has clean air to breathe. Pesticide, irradiation, growth hormone, genetically modified, additive-free food should be offered at prices affordable to all Americans, not just the wealthy. Corporate polluters should be held accountable and swiftly made to clean up their messes (after all they are making a fortune at the expense of our air and water quality) so taxpayers aren’t left footing the bill while the corporate executives are slapped on the wrist and left with ample resources to move on to other polluting endeavors.

If these changes were made, we would see a dramatic reduction in the incidence of acute and chronic illness in adults as well as our precious children. There is a reason that the cancer rate has skyrocketed from 1 in 8000 in 1901 to nearly 1 in 2 today. Arguing over how to pay for coverage of expensive treatments is a mute point. Let’s prevent Americans from getting sick in the first place! This is not an unrealistic goal if we cease sponsoring pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies through third-party payers and crack down on corporate pollution.