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January, 2010 Volume 35, Issue 1



(415)868-1600 - (415)868-0502(fax) -
P.O. Box 31, Bolinas, CA, 94924
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  Why The Republicans Were Right To Reject "Healthcare Reform" For All The Wrong Reasons
By Stephen Simac

Like rocks in a roadway the Republicans stood firm against "socialized medicine, at least if it's not for seniors, the military and themselves. The Public Option promised by House Speaker Pelosi to shore up the liberal base was drowned in the bathtub as the Senate and Congressional bills coalesce into some rough beast.

   A dose of reality is the best medicine. It's not about "health care", only about paying for the crippling costs of medical treatment for Americans. An aging population getting fatter and sicker ever younger. Caused by the American Way of Life (AWOL).

   Seventy Five % of medical costs are from epidemics of chronic, preventable diseases.  Paying for their pills or cutting off diabetic limbs can't touch that.

    Without fixing the cause, trillions thrown at repairing the results won't work.  However, that's not why the Repubs are adamantly opposed to ObamaCare.

    It wasn't a sudden shyness about deficits, for they insisted that President Obama obey General McChrystalball's commands for more troops in the "graveyard of Empires".  That will bleed the treasury white, without making us safer from our greatest threat, AWOL. 

    It can't be to save the best medical care system in the world. The more than 2 trillion a year spent on medical care in the states delivers worse outcomes at twice the cost of all other western nations.
 It wasn't to support the housing market. The American Journal of Medicine found that 60% of bankruptcies in the US were caused by medical expenses, whether insured or not.

    Not to lower medical insurance rates for Americans, or they'd have demanded Medicare for All. That's already the largest insurance company in the country.  It manages with only 3% overhead instead of ten times that for private insurance companies, which also post 25% profit margins.  The medical insurance industry will pocket a quarter trillion dollars this year, while millions of sick and injured Americans go belly up with debt.

    It wasn't to dance with the medical services goliaths that bought them. Democrat "reform" plans will deliver tens of millions of new customers with federal subsidies attached to the insurance conglomerates, pharmaceutical behemoths, medical treatment armies with equipment and support trains chugging behind.

   Real reform must improve Americans health. It will require transforming AWOL, more sacred than Revelations to the masses. Politicians have no stomach for jumping off the gravy train, even as it heads off the economic cliff.


    Dr. Dean Ornish, founder of Preventive Medicine Research Institute in Sausalito has shown that diet and lifestyle changes could cut sickcare costs in half in a year based on his reversal of heart disease in 2,000 patients. 

     Dr. Michael Roizen of the Cleveland Clinic, estimates that 80% of medical costs could be reduced with evidence based health habits.  Dr. Andrew Weil, director of the Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona, believes we need a new culture of health and a complete transformation of medicine in this country to avoid being inundated by a silver tsunami of unhealthy boomers.

    Dr. Len Saputo has published a plan for "radical health care reform based on the integral health medicine model." This would mix other licensed health providers into the current medical monopoly.

    Just like Single Payer advocates, these doctors were kept off the "reform" table.  Yes, Virginia, republicans were right to oppose 'reform" plans that will blow 25 times more money on disease treatment than real prevention. But that's not why they just said No!  It was purely political, a fight to the death between red and blue.  They were gambling on repeating the 1994 Harry and Louise roll again, when they killed reform, regained the majority and hung Gingrich around Clinton's neck. The dems are throwing loaded dice, hoping that any plan will convince voters they care.


    Congress isn't debating or addressing the causes of spiraling medical costs. Their resistance to changing AWOL is symbolized by scheming to harness younger Americans with the unbearable burden of paying for conventional medical care for sick, aging Americans.  This is sheer fantasy when future earnings, much less the health of ballooning younger Americans is considered.

    Twelve steppers would say the way out of this mess starts with admitting that we've got a problem and need some higher power for outside assistance. We have enshrined AWOL, a sickening, stressful, unbalanced, unsustainable system as a false god. Because it glitters at the top of the pyramid, the base lusts to be gilded with their stardust, feasting on toxic waste, accumulating heavy metals and debts that can never be paid.

    We could save hundreds of billions from medical care by improving Americans health. It can be done without saddling our descendents with crushing debts and obligations.  Charging mitigation fees for products and practices known to cause medical problems will pay for their externalized costs to society, instead of inflating profits of death, disease and injury merchants.


    A recent UCLA study found that health complications from obesity costs California $41 billion a year.   Sweetened beverages, greasy foods, psychotropic medications, hormone mimicking chemicals and sedentary lifestyles cause obesity, the new normal for Americans.  We love to blame the victim, especially fat ones who smoke, but humans crave sweet, greasy, salty foodstuffs, just like other addictive substances, more so when under stress.

    That once ensured meeting nutritional needs. Former FDA commissioner David Kessler revealed that Food product companies have been exploiting innate biological signals by intentionally "loading and layering" sugar, fat and salt, designing in color, scent, mouth appeal and advertising their "bliss bombs" to hook consumers into overeating any time/ any where. 

    These products are physiologically as addictive and harmful as any of the illegal drugs we've spent trillions to eradicate, unsuccessfully. Maybe we should have just taxed them to pay for their medical costs.

    The economic cost to California from alcohol is $38 billion a year, The Marin Institute calculated. The legislature recently voted down a proposed nickel a drink tax. Refusing to charge the vast majority of drinkers a dime a day more to help pay for the medical costs of uncontrolled alcoholics is that much more profit for the brewers, bottlers and merchants. Not that it would have gone directly to pay for these costs, any more than tobacco taxes do.

    Burning fossil fuels costs the US at least $120 billion a year in medical costs and premature deaths, the National Academy of Sciences found. Burning coal for electricity in older dirtier power plants is the biggest source of this externalized cost. Motor vehicle exhaust, primarily from petroleum based fuels costs society almost $60 billion. That doesn't even include traffic accidents, the major killer of Americans fewer than forty.


    Medical mitigation fees on coal, gasoline, diesel and bunker oil that help pay for Medicare for All, will reduce imports of terrorists oil and slow global warming more than any cap and trade scheme. Coal would be prohibitive if charged for the health care costs of its spewed mercury, radiation, heavy metals, and carbon soot. Nuclear already is prohibitive without massive subsidies. Add in the costs of increased cancers, heart disease, and pregnancy miscarriages downwind and investors will be flocking towards photovoltaic and windmills.

   There is no shortage of products and practices with solid evidence for charging medical mitigation fees.  Most are fundamentals of AWOL, so ending public subsidies for their true costs will be fiercely and bitterly opposed. Yet politicians are desperate for new sources of income, that aren't taxes.  Mitigation fees only require a simple majority of politicians in California. Paying for medical costs directly with fees, will free up many billions in the budget to pay for future pension costs.

    AWOL advocates will very likely die off sooner than abstainers, although there are no guarantees in life, only warranties. There's no evidence that simply paying for conventional disease care will make Americans healthier.


    Although Harvard Medical School estimated that 45, 000 Americans died in 2005 due to lack of medical insurance, medical treatment is our third leading cause of death. The Institute of Medicine estimated that over a hundred thousand Americans a year died from medical incompetence in the 90's.

    Few of their recommendations to reduce medical havoc have been adopted. None of the Congressional "reform" plans include the most critical changes to reduce deaths and injuries. This year a Hearst Company study concluded that 200,000 die a year die from iatrogenic causes now.

    Death rates for all causes increase in direct proportion to the number of MDs in an area. This is partially attributable to medical "errors", but Dr. Goffman, a retired U.C. Berkeley professor blamed medical radiology for up to 80% increases in heart disease and cancers he found in his massive study of death rates related to doctor density in counties across America. This was even before the routine use of CAT scans, which deliver 1000 times more radiation than a chest x-ray. There's no safe dose and radiation damage is cumulative.
     Based on death rates and electrification from the early decades of the 20th century Dr. Samuel Milham, an internationally honored epidemiologist, linked electro-magnetic fields from non-ionizing radiation with 60% higher mortality rates from cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and suicide in electrified cities over then powerless rural areas. Filthy air and constant noise from motor vehicle traffic are toxic long term, while traffic accidents have immediate health impacts.

    There are co-factors and synergistic effects from AWOL causing the many health problems associated with it.  Many have been identified conclusively, but the political will to charge them for it has not.




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