Most of us think that health care is heading down a road of uncertainty because of the new health care reform. The insurance companies might not make as much money under the reform health care and many more people will have access that they haven’t had before. So what happens next? Will the reform bring about long lines in clinics, hospitals and create a boom in future medical schools? Every person will have health care and the reform should get better mileage for our buck, so they say. The conservatives think it’ll ruin our health care system which is extremely expensive these days and costs continue to rise. But if our healthcare is going to be regulated by our government, what does that really mean for us? It seems to me that running health care as a business for profit has made many investors rich beyond belief because the insurance company’s bottom line is to puts money before our health. Yet, they will tell you someone has to run it as a business and be paid for running things smoothly. What did doctors do before health care became a business for profit? Were doctors making too much money and abusing the system? Or were some doctors absorbing their losses if a patient couldn’t pay? Or did they use a sliding scale so everyone could be treated? Were the doctors paid in trading services or goods like the good old days? And were doctors medically training different than they are today? Will medical schools carve a different program for the future of our health care as what UCLA has been integrating for the last decade? We need to undergo a big change in order for this reform to work. Let’s look at the old system and why it hasn’t worked. Integrative medicine approaches such as the one being used across the UCLA Health System has made a difference. Decide for yourself: http://magazine.ucla.edu/featurres/east-meets-west-in-ucla-medicine/
Canada and most European countries have coverage for their citizens and are regulated by their government and yet they have challenges with population and long lines but no company or doctor gets to abuse the system. Sure, it costs citizens of those countries a high percentage in taxes but every citizen is covered and their system has been using homeopathic and combination "east-meets-west" approaches very effectively. For example, Americans who can’t afford certain procedures have opted to visit Germany or other coutries to be treated. These medical tourists are often impressed by the medical protocols at their destinations. With the health care the way it is today, there are millions of people across all generations who cannot afford health care coverage. A majority of children who don’t know the difference go without everyday and their elders cannot afford Medicare. When they become sick, these unfortunate citizens run to emergency rooms to get treatment and they do not ever have to pay a dime. Who absorbs this cost? We as tax payers do so it seems to make sense to tax everyone so all Americans can have health care. Part of the dilemma of this swinging door policy is that people who have insurance can go to their doctor but people who don’t have insurance know if they run to the emergency room, the doctors have to treat whoever walks in regardless if they are citizens or not. Emergency rooms are filled with people who have young children, a large majority is immigrants and then we have our seniors who can’t wait to be seen. So we are paying for people we don’t even know personally.
What about Urgent Care? When you enter their doors without insurance, they make you fill out paper work, run a basic $100-150.00 charge on your credit card and after seeing the doctor, they give you a small to larger bill which must be paid or they will send their credit collectors after you and ruin your credit if you can’t pay. Urgent Care is great service but you pay. Last year after the flu hit me, I paid $800.00 to Urgent Care after exhausting my insurance co-pay benefits because the doctors were not able to treat that strain of flu. Not only was I out of work for 3 weeks but I also had to pay the remaining bill.
As a sole proprietor I have opted to carry only catastrophic insurance and pay out of pocket for the rest. I am proactive in my own health. As a therapist who takes care of others, I must stay healthy. I never go to the emergency room because I know it will cost me big bucks! I know that emergency rooms are for those who need emergency care right away. The Doc in the Box has always saved me in the past; these are great places for small health concerns to get fixed. I have opted out of full coverage insurance for many years because I know my body better than some random doctor who meets me for the first time. I want to be in control of my health and being proactive has kept me away from paying monthly insurance payments. I normally don’t need coverage because I can maintain my own health. As you can tell, I’m also not a huge fan of the present health care system.
When I was 38 years old, I came down with Epstein-Barr Syndrome, developed Mitral Valve Prolapse, and eventually was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue. Back in the 1980’s when I got sick; there was no cure so I slept for a year. The doctors at Cornell Medical Center sent me off with a good luck slap on the back and advised me to wait it out. Thankfully, I had been employed by a company that paid 80% of all my hospital bills and medical treatments. If I had not been employed with great benefits, I would have had to go on disability through social security and would have given up. I would have been one of those people who would have taxed the health care system. Instead of believing what the doctors told me, I stubbornly decided to figure things out for myself. I read everything I could get my hands on. As an amateur athlete I trusted my body and knew that my body would eventually heal. I needed to take out the poisons in my body and replenish it with living foods. I basically had to re-educate myself about how my body works. By putting trust from my own awareness and being proactive, it gave me a sense that I needed to take care of myself. I had the answers -- not doctors who barely knew me. It took approximately 10 years to learn how to cleanse my body and implement the right nutrition to gain back my physical strength. I became my own doctor. I used homeopathic remedies, Myofascial Trigger Point Therapy, lymphatic massages, connective tissue release, yoga, movement therapy, meditation, visualization, hypnosis, and ate living foods that were right for my body’s metabolism. After reading this UCLA article and knowing that the health care reform is coming, I needed to write about it. I am hoping we implement "east-meets-west" because it has helped me and transformed me into a unique therapist. I know UCLA medical school is embracing the future and that it will train some of the best doctors because they will have a bigger pool of modalities to pull from. Maybe then Massage Therapists will be trained more efficiently and become part of the new system. It will be a win- win for all of us.