Are We Talking About “Health Care” Reform, Or “Sickness Care” Reform?

All the talk about “Health Care Reform” has certainly ignited a fire in countless Americans! Every national news and talk radio show is focused on this hot button topic recently.The economic crisis is clearly the catalyst for the proposed sweeping changes in national “health” care. Scarce funds and resources, as well as a pending economic “collapse” (as some describe) are forcing us to consider how to manage health care in tough times… and in extreme circumstances.We’re hearing terms like “rationed health care”, “socialized medicine”, “universal insurance” and the “value of human life”. It’s no wonder this subject has sparked such heated dialogue.Spending the first 23 years of my life in “socialist” Canada, and still spending much time and energy in their medical system with both of my parents, I may have a different perspective from the sensationalized one being portrayed in media.I’m perfectly willing to admit that I don’t understand all the politics and red tape involved. I simply have a memory of how things really played out in that system and countless experiences to call upon.Growing up, I quite clearly recall paying out of pocket for many doctor’s and specialist’s visits, treatments and procedures, and paying a partial “co-pay” for the remaining forms of care: physical therapy, surgery, prescriptions, etc. Not exactly the picture I continue to see painted on the news.Studying and working within the field of health and wellness for the past 18 years, I know I have a different perspective. First, I wish we’d quit calling this “health care”. The subject of this conversation is “sickness care”. I know I can’t change that, but it annoys me! Words are important.I have no challenge with paying for – investing in – my own health. I will gladly invest in lifestyle choices that proactively build better health. Choices like: healthier foods, high quality nutritional supplements, pure water, exercise classes, equipment and tools, Chiropractic care, massage, less toxic personal care, household and lawn care products, and so on. I don’t expect a hand out for any of these things… although it would sure be nice! It’s just not realistic. My health and my family’s health is my responsibility.If we continue to talk about sickness care as though it will somehow provide us with health, we’ll continue on our devastating trend of unparalleled rates of chronic illness in all age groups. We’re confused.What drug, surgery, insurance plan or federal program could ever fix a problem due to a lack of fresh, healthy, whole, untainted (genetically required) real foods? Or a problem due to sedentary living and lack of regular (genetically required) movement? Or a problem due to a lack of healthy emotions like love and joy? Or a problem due to toxic thoughts and emotions like fear, worry, hate and hopelessness?Thinking that national “health care” is responsible for our health is irresponsible on our part. It’s also foolish. Their paradigm is still the sickness paradigm. Why on earth would we expect them to deliver us health?Do I think that we should have a system to help those in need achieve better health and receive sickness care when needed? Yes. But I sure would love to see the main focus of such a program be on “health”! I’m certain we’d spend FAR less on sickness care (and “health care” as a whole) if that were the case.I’d also love to see the pharmaceutical industry focus on health rather than profits, and drugs only be used for life-saving endeavors… but I digress!I’m blessed to live in a country with excellent sickness care options. In the case of emergency or trauma or life-saving procedures we have the best. In the case of “health care”… not so much! Sadly though, it’s all there. Everything we need in order to create ideal health is right here at our fingertips. As a culture, we just keep overlooking it and choosing sickness care, expecting health as the outcome.Our paradigm is inaccurate.As individuals, imagine if we all began to proactively take steps to create better health. We would no longer play the role of passive by-stander or helpless victim in this game. That’s where I think our focus needs to shift – why wait around to see what’s decided FOR us? Regardless of whatever decisions are made by this current administration, we can certainly become healthier one by one, family by family. Isn’t this the perfect, most necessary time to take responsibility for our own health and safety?Science has clearly shown us that it’s our lifestyle choices – how we eat, how we move, how we sleep, how we respond to stress – that directly determine our level of health, function, performance and our ability to prevent and reverse chronic illness. Getting healthier means making more pure and sufficient choices while simultaneously reducing toxic and deficient choices. No one can do this for us but US.When we shift to this responsible, proactive and accurate belief about health care, THEN we will have a truly beneficial health care reform and a profound strengthening of our economy!

5 Ways To Reduce Your Health Care Costs

Adjust Your DeductibleThe two main component of a health insurance plan are the premium and costs you pay for health care via your co-pay, co-insurance and deductible. The more you agree to pay for your health care, the less your monthly premium will be. Insurance companies know that when people have a financial stake in their own health care bills they tend to be more judicious in their use of medical services. Agreeing to pay a higher deductible, or rate of co-insurance, will result in lower monthly premiums. Sometimes these reductions can be quite significant and if saved will cover most if not all of the cost of the higher deductible.This approach is less effective for people who use a lot of health care services every year, racking up large bills. However, for people who are generally health and don’t use a lot of health care, they can realize dramatic savings using a high deductible health plan. Plans with high premiums are guaranteed to cost you a lot of money even if you don’t go to the doctor. Plans with high deductibles will only cost you a lot if you actually use medical services.Use Tax AdvantagesThere are a few ways to reduce your health insurance costs using the income tax system. The first and most common way is to use a health savings account otherwise known as an HSA. An HSA is a special banking account you are allowed to put pretax money in to spend on health care costs. The money you put into your health savings account does not get taxed as regular income. Depending on the tax bracket you are in, this can be a significant discount on health care costs. Many health care plans do not cover things like maternity, dental services and eye care. However, these services can be paid for out of an HSA.To be eligible for an HSA, you must have a high deductible health insurance plan that meets the IRS requirements for health savings accounts. Generally you have to carry a high deductible and the plan has to have limits on total out of pocket cots.If you are facing large health care bills, you may be able to deduct them from your income tax. You are allowed to deduct any medical expenses above 7.5% of your adjusted gross income. There are a wide variety of services that can be included in this amount, even a mileage deduction for transportation to and from the hospital. Make sure to consult a tax advisor if you choose to go this route.Use your free Preventive CareAll health insurance plans are now required to provide free preventive care, so make sure you use it. Routine checkups and some testing is free for adults. Well baby visits and immunizations are free for children. These are significant benefits so make sure you are taking full advantage of them.Shop AroundOne of the reasons health care has become so expensive is there is little price competition. Don’t be afraid to ask what a doctor charges, especially for planned or expected health care. Some hospitals can be very competitive on price for services like labor and delivery, while others can be quite expensive. Don’t assume health care costs the same everywhere, it certainly does not.Emergency rooms are especially to be avoided if you are looking to reduce your health care costs. They should only be used for true emergencies. For non life threatening medical issues like ear infections or even a cut requiring stitches, consider using an urgent care or local clinic. The costs of services at these locations can be a tenth of what an emergency room will charge.Stay HealthyThis may sound like tired advice, but staying out of the hospital is the best way to reduce your costs. Try putting everyday activities in terms of what they may cost you in the long run. Sitting on the couch with a big bowl of ice cream is much more expensive than a nice walk outside. If living a long life isn’t enough motivation to be healthy now, consider that your unhealthy lifestyle will cost you a lot of money in health care costs.

Alternative Medicine – What is Scientific and Proven?

It’s time for conventional medical experts to prove the science behind their medicine by demonstrating successful, nontoxic, and affordable patient outcomes.It’s time to revisit the scientific method to deal with the complexities of alternative treatments.The U.S. government has belatedly confirmed a fact that millions of Americans have known personally for decades – acupuncture works. A 12-member panel of “experts” informed the National Institutes of Health (NIH), its sponsor, that acupuncture is “clearly effective” for treating certain conditions, such as fibromyalgia, tennis elbow, pain following dental surgery, nausea during pregnancy, and nausea and vomiting associated with chemotherapy.The panel was less persuaded that acupuncture is appropriate as the sole treatment for headaches, asthma, addiction, menstrual cramps, and others.The NIH panel said that, “there are a number of cases” where acupuncture works. Since the treatment has fewer side effects and is less invasive than conventional treatments, “it is time to take it seriously” and “expand its use into conventional medicine.”These developments are naturally welcome, and the field of alternative medicine should, be pleased with this progressive step.But underlying the NIH’s endorsement and qualified “legitimization” of acupuncture is a deeper issue that must come to light- the presupposition so ingrained in our society as to be almost invisible to all but the most discerning eyes.The presupposition is that these “experts” of medicine are entitled and qualified to pass judgment on the scientific and therapeutic merits of alternative medicine modalities.They are not.The matter hinges on the definition and scope of the term “scientific.” The news is full of complaints by supposed medical experts that alternative medicine is not “scientific” and not “proven.” Yet we never hear these experts take a moment out from their vituperations to examine the tenets and assumptions of their cherished scientific method to see if they are valid.Again, they are not.Medical historian Harris L. Coulter, Ph.D., author of the landmark four-volume history of Western medicine called Divided Legacy, first alerted me to a crucial, though unrecognized, distinction. The question we should ask is whether conventional medicine is scientific. Dr. Coulter argues convincingly that it is not.Over the last 2,500 years, Western medicine has been divided by a powerful schism between two opposed ways of looking at physiology, health, and healing, says Dr. Coulter. What we now call conventional medicine (or allopathy) was once known as Rationalist medicine; alternative medicine, in Dr. Coulter’s history, was called Empirical medicine. Rationalist medicine is based on reason and prevailing theory, while Empirical medicine is based on observed facts and real life experience – on what works.Dr. Coulter makes some startling observations based on this distinction. Conventional medicine is alien, both in spirit and structure, to the scientific method of investigation, he says. Its concepts continually change with the latest breakthrough. Yesterday, it was germ theory; today, it’s genetics; tomorrow, who knows?With each changing fashion in medical thought, conventional medicine has to toss away its now outmoded orthodoxy and impose the new one, until it gets changed again. This is medicine based on abstract theory; the facts of the body must be contorted to conform to these theories or dismissed as irrelevant.Doctors of this persuasion accept a dogma on faith and impose it on their patients, until it’s proved wrong or dangerous by the next generation. They get carried away by abstract ideas and forget the living patients. As a result, the diagnosis is not directly connected to the remedy; the link is more a matter of guesswork than science. This approach, says Dr. Coulter, is “inherently imprecise, approximate, and unstable-it’s a dogma of authority, not science.” Even if an approach hardly works at all, it’s kept on the books because the theory says it’s good “science.”On the other hand, practitioners of Empirical, or alternative medicine, do their homework: they study the individual patients; determine all the contributing causes; note all the symptoms; and observe the results of treatment.Homeopathy and Chinese medicine are prime examples of this approach. Both modalities may be added to because physicians in these fields and other alternative practices constantly seek new information based on their clinical experience.This is the meaning of empirical: it’s based on experience, then continually tested and refined – but not reinvented or discarded – through the doctor’s daily practice with actual patients. For this reason, homeopathic remedies don’t become outmoded; acupuncture treatment strategies don’t become irrelevant.Alternative medicine is proven every day in the clinical experience of physicians and patients. It was proven ten years ago and will remain proven ten years from now. According to Dr. Coulter, alternative medicine is more scientific in the truest sense than Western, so-called scientific medicine.Sadly, what we see far too often in conventional medicine is a drug or procedure “proven” as effective and accepted by the FDA and other authoritative bodies only to be revoked a few years later when it’s been proven to be toxic, malfunctioning, or deadly.The conceit of conventional medicine and its “science” is that substances and procedures must pass the double-blind study to be proven effective. But is the double-blind method the most appropriate way to be scientific about alternative medicine? It is not.The guidelines and boundaries of science must be revised to encompass the clinical subtlety and complexity revealed by alternative medicine. As a testing method, the double-blind study examines a single substance or procedure in isolated, controlled conditions and measures results against an inactive or empty procedure or substance (called a placebo) to be sure that no subjective factors get in the way. The approach is based on the assumption that single factors cause and reverse illness, and that these can be studied alone, out of context and in isolation.The double-blind study, although taken without critical examination to be the gold standard of modern science, is actually misleading, even useless, when it is used to study alternative medicine. We know that no single factor causes anything nor is there a “magic bullet” capable of single-handedly reversing conditions. Multiple factors contribute to the emergence of an illness and multiple modalities must work together to produce healing.Equally important is the understanding that this multiplicity of causes and cures takes place in individual patients, no two of whom are alike in psychology, family medical history, and biochemistry. Two men, both of whom are 35 and have similar flu symptoms, do not necessarily and automatically have the same health condition, nor should they receive the same treatment. They might, but you can’t count on it.The double-blind method is incapable of accommodating this degree of medical complexity and variation, yet these are physiological facts of life. Any approach claiming to be scientific which has to exclude this much empirical, real-life data from its study is clearly not true science.In a profound sense, the double-blind method cannot prove alternative medicine is effective because it is not scientific enough. It is not broad and subtle and complex enough to encompass the clinical realities of alternative medicine.If you depend on the double-blind study to validate alternative medicine, you will end up doubly blind about the reality of medicine.Listen carefully the next time you hear medical “experts” whining that a substance or method has not been “scientifically” evaluated in a double-blind study and is therefore not yet “proven” effective. They’re just trying to mislead and intimidate you. Ask them how much “scientific” proof underlies using chemotherapy and radiation for cancer or angioplasty for heart disease. The fact is, it’s very little.Try turning the situation around. Demand of the experts that they scientifically prove the efficacy of some of their cash cows, such as chemotherapy and radiation for cancer, angioplasty and bypass for heart disease, or hysterectomies for uterine problems. The efficacy hasn’t been proven because it can’t be proven.There is no need whatsoever for practitioners and consumers of alternative medicine to wait like supplicants with hat in hand for the scientific “experts” of conventional medicine to dole out a few condescending scraps of official approval for alternative approaches.Rather, discerning citizens should be demanding of these experts that they prove the science behind their medicine by demonstrating successful, nontoxic, and affordable patient outcomes. If they can’t, these approaches should be rejected for being unscientific. After all, the proof is in the cure.

Are You Choosing the Right Stock Market Advisory Company

What do you do if you want to learn driving a car? You will try to find an expert teacher, isn’t it? You do not want to avail the services of a novice individual to help you out, but a professional person can provide you the vital tips and most importantly guide you efficiently. Similarly, when it comes to investing in the stock market for the first time, you require a knowledgeable advice to attain your financial goals and get profitable returns.

If you are a beginner, then it is quite obvious that you may be having no information about the process of buying the right shares in the market. In such a situation, getting the right tips from an experienced financial advisor or a registered advisory company will truly prove to be a great blessing in disguise. However, there are some of the important things that have to be kept in mind while choosing the top stock market advisory company, which are as follows:

How much assistance do you actually require?

Before you make up your mind to hire an advisor, it is imperative that you must first decide about the kind of service you require from them. You may need their help at the beginning or during the time of any issues. This is because an advisor has to formulate a map according to your requirements. Hence, it is suggested to ascertain your needs first and then take further action.

Choose a top ranked advisory company

It is a very important point that has to be taken into the consideration. Availing services of the well known advisory company or a financial advisor is an absolute necessity. Make it a point to carry out a proper background or research work about the company. Check out their credentials, reputation, experience, etc before hiring them.

Asking for a sample financial plan initially makes sense

When hiring a financial advisor, then do not forget to ask for sample plan first. It is imperative to note that there is no such thing called the perfect plan. A sample plan will help you to determine whether an advisory company is actually making sense according your requirements or not.

Conclusion

The financial planners or advisory companies can really turn out to be the greatest asset for you if you choose the best one. They are just like the professional sailors who can help you out to sail through stock investment related problems quite efficiently.

Deepak is a financial advisor who likes to provide quality tips to the people facing any issues with regard to investing in the stock market. He likes to keep himself updated about the stock market by reading articles, news and blogs, etc.

Older posts »