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“You are not what you are, rather, what you are is what you can be. The most interesting thing about life is that you can become more than you were before. You can become stronger, wiser and healthier than you ever dreamed possible.” — David Wolfe

Americans Die Younger Than Peers - Fixing A Broken Healthcare System

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Posted: Sun, Mar 10, 2013
By: Danielle Heard, MS, HHC
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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was developed to help provide affordable healthcare to millions of Americans who currently don't have it and to also address various unethical business practices by the healthcare and insurance companies. But will providing the existing level of medical care to more people address the skyrocketing rates of disease and lead to better medical care and a healthier society? Leading Integrative Medicine doctor, Andrew Weil, MD says, NO! "The present system doesn't work, and it is going to take us down. We need a whole new kind of medicine," says Dr. Weil, who is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona.

On Sunday, March 10, 2013 at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. ET on CNN the new movie documentary "Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare," will air.  The focus of the documentary is on America's low rankings in health among peer countries, the causes of poor health, the problems with the US medical system and some solutions. 

According to new research released by the National Academy of Sciences in January 2013, Americans live shorter lives and are in poorer health than other high-income countries. Out of 17 high-income economic peer countries, American men rank 17th for life expectancy, and women rank 16th. For a country that claims to have the best healthcare in the world, the research clearly shows that the US has a faulty healthcare model that is not creating a healthier society despite the astronomical spending for healthcare services.

Not only does the US have some of the lowest life expectancy rates but it also ranks among the highest with prevalence of diabetes, obesity, arthritis, sexually transmitted diseases, deaths caused by injury or homicide, and more Americans die from drugs and alcohol than any other peer country. The National Academy of Sciences research also highlights the US's high poverty rates, income inequality issues, and an education system that has fallen behind its peers.

But this research is not the first time the declining health of Americans, or its healthcare system and economic issues has been reported. More than 12 years ago, Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH reported similar findings in her paper "Is US Health Really the Best in the World?" published in JAMA, July 26, 2000. Most notable in Dr. Starfield's report is that the US healthcare system causes over 225,000 deaths per year from medical mistakes and that these iatrogenic deaths rank third in the US behind heart disease and cancer.

The new healthcare documentary airing is following fast on the heels of Steven Brill's article "Bitter Pill: Why Medical Bills Are Killing Us" published in Time Magazine, which highlights the exorbitantly inflated healthcare costs that can be marked up as high as 400% for those without a government contracted health plan such as Medicare, and the release of new research commissioned by the American Diabetes Association, titled the "Economic Costs of Diabetes in the US in 2012," which reports a staggering 41% increase in the cost to treat millions more people diagnosed with diabetes since 2007 that totals $245 BILLION annually in healthcare costs. "We don't have a healthcare system in this country, we have a disease management system," says Dr. Weil. "The brutal fact is that we spend more on healthcare than any other country ... and get shockingly little for our money."

Dr. Weil along with, medical journalist Shannon Brownlee; the Chairman and CEO of Safeway Inc., Steven Burd; the former head of Medicare and Medicaid in 2010-2011, Dr. Don Berwick and others will be featured in the documentary.

Research overwhelmingly supports claims that our current healthcare system is not affordable to most people, is overcharging people for services that manage disease but that does not lead to better health of Americans, and it is bankrupting our nation. According to Dr. Don Berwick, "We are really mortgaging the future, not just the health of healthcare, but the health of the nation."

America is now faced with the rapid aging of the largest generational cohort it has ever experienced and these 78 Million Baby Boomers will require medical care. Between 2000-2020 the 50+ population is expected to increase by 40 million people (JWT MMG, Value Portraits 2005). This is problematic for a country that is trillions of dollars in debt. The recent American Diabetes Association report on the economic costs of diabetes highlights what is to come. In just five years the number of people diagnosed with diabetes increased by 5 Million people and 62.4% of the $245 Billion in total costs was paid for by government insurance such as Medicare. As the Americans age, they will require healthcare for a variety of health issues and not typically just one health problem or disease but multiple health issues.

Shannon Brownlee says it perfectly, "We are in the grip of a very big industry and it doesn't want to stop making money." The current healthcare system is based on maximizing profits rather than fostering good health and generally treats almost every health condition as if it were a medical emergency says Dr. Weil. 

Clearly America's health is spiraling out of control so much so that we are lagging behind peer countries. Our healthcare system and the way we think about health needs to be overhauled as to continue would lead to a weak, underperforming and unhealthy nation. Instead of disease management the focus of our healthcare needs to shift towards long-term disease prevention that advocates, promotes and implements healthy lifestyle interventions such as nutrition, exercise, stress-reduction and that saves costly medical procedures for the most serious conditions.

If you care about these issues, it is important that you write, call or schedule to meet with your congressional representatives. We must change this broken system NOW because we cannot wait another decade while the health of Americans rapidly declines and becomes more costly. To find your legislators click on the links: Senators, House of Representatives

I hope you will join me in watching this documentary film. If you miss it tonight, it will re-air on March 16th on CNN. Check here for more information on the film.

You can of course help change this situation TODAY by implementing healthy lifestyle habits and taking responsibility for your own health. More than 70% of medical care is for diseases that are lifestyle related. If everyone implemented healthy habits we could greatly diminish these crippling healthcare costs and improve the health and wealth of our nation. Imagine what we could do with the savings! If you need some help learning how to improve your health through nutrition and healthy eating call Artemis in the City toll-free 866-330-5421!

Watch the Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare trailer 

Thank you very much for reading my blog and please continue to visit often.

I wish you good health, happiness and love!


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Privacy Policy | Disclaimer | © 2008-2023 Artemis in the City, LLC. All rights reserved.
Email: info@artemisinthecity.com | Phone: 903-759-0172 | United States
Artemis in the City and logo and Food for the Untamed Soul are trademarks of Artemis in the City, LLC.