Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Healthcare Words Of The Day

February 24, 2010

Institute For Medical Wellness Healthy Living Report

First word of the day is oxymoron.

An online definition:

a rhetorical device or figure of speech in which contradictory or opposite words or concepts are combined for effect. — oxymoronic, adj.

Now please read the following segment below:

In a previous newsletter, I wrote about a French premier who traveled to our country for healthcare. In particular, he had heart surgery in Florida after his Canadian doctor's recommended it. As per a Canadian Press article, Mr. Williams was quoted as saying,

“My doctors in Newfoundland indicated to me that I should go out of the province to get it done,” Williams said in an interview broadcast yesterday with the NTV network. “This is my heart, it’s my health, and it’s my choice.”

So a French Premier chose, of his own volition, to come to America for healthcare, more specifically, heart surgery. There are heart surgeons in Canada. But they did not perform the less invasive type of surgery performed by some surgeons in America.

But that may not have been the only reason Mr. Williams came to America, according to the Canadian press article.

"Williams said he didn't announce his departure south of the border because he didn't want to create "a media gong show," but added that criticism would've followed him had he chose to have surgery in Canada. "I would've been criticized if I had stayed in Canada and had been perceived as jumping a line or a wait list. ... I accept that. That's public life," he said. "(But) this is not a unique phenomenon to me. This is something that happens with lots of families throughout this country, so I make no apologies for that."

OK. He could have had the surgery in Canada. But the surgeons would have cracked open his chest, instead of going in laparoscopically, a much less invasive procedure. And, if he stayed in Canada, and had the surgery, he either would have had to wait in line, and risk permanent heart damage, or use political connections to get pushed to the front of the line.

Things that make you go Hmmm....

A politician using political connections to get special favors. That could never happen in this country??? I also have a bridge in New York to sell you!!

But he chose to have treatment in our country, yet still believes the Canadian system is better??

Can you say oxymoron???

So while I truly respect our neighbors to the north, I want no part of their top-heavy government controlled healthcare system. Our system may be expensive, but that is a result of too much government, third party and political intrusions into the system, not too little. So anyone who wants to debate where to get the best and most advanced medical care in the world, get in line behind Danny Williams from Canada.


OBama's Healthcare Summit

That brings me to the second word of the day, Summit.

An online definition of summit.

sum·mit (smt)
1. The highest point or part; the top.
2. The highest level or degree that can be attained.
a. The highest level, as of government officials.
b. A conference or meeting of high-level leaders, usually called to shape a program of action.
v. sum·mit·ed, sum·mit·ing, sum·mits

If we actually believe that politicians meet the above definitions and that they can fix the healthcare system, then, well ......

Here is my prediction for how the healthcare summit will go.

President Obama will thank everyone for attending the first ever televised and transparent healthcare summit to attempt to solve our nations healthcare crisis. He will mention how we have the best doctors and hospitals in the world, but are trapped in a system that costs too much and leaves many without healthcare. He will then demonize special interests, especially the health insurance companies and Big Pharma. He will take a stand and review his proposal for reform, that is a compilation of the Senate and House's bills that, if you follow public opinion polls, has been widely rejected by a majority of Americans. He will talk about bending the cost curve of healthcare, and making doctors and hospitals more efficient through the use of electronic health records and a comparative effectiveness research commission. He will ask that his proposal be the framework or template that the rest of the day's summit focuses upon. He will call for an end to bickering and political games and ask that the republicans end their partisanship in the name of healthcare reform.

Boy would I love to be at this summit, and debate the president on healthcare reform. I am so, so tired of politicians screwing up the healthcare system, blaming doctors and hospitals for increasing costs, and then making it worse with more political rhetoric.

So since I will instead, be working at my office, providing healthcare, let me rebut some of the above statements.

1) There is no healthcare crisis. There is a political crisis on what to do to fix a system that previous governments also screwed up, yet they will use the word crisis as a way to have the government exert even more control.

We do not need more government control of healthcare, but less. Everyone has access to healthcare. No one can be turned away from an emergency room. The real issue is the cost of health insurance, not actual healthcare. To lower the cost of health insurance, we need to get rid of government mandates, encourage high deductible insurance policies with tax free medical savings accounts to promote some individual responsibility for one's own health, and enable more competition among insurers by allowing real competition across state lines. By freeing the insurance companies from political state mandates, the cost of insurance premiums will decrease. The states with the fewest mandates, have the lowest insurance premiums. Yet the presidents reform proposals will likely increase mandates on insurance companies, which will only lead to higher insurance premiums. That is why Massachusetts, with a state sponsored system, has one of the highest insurance premiums in the nation. The president's proposals will result in a "bending of the cost curve" in the wrong direction.

2) Big Pharma is not one of my friends, but they are also not one of my enemies. Their marketing schemes leave alot to be desired, and I call them on it all the time. But they do produce medications and treatments that prevent illness and save lives. Instead of demonizing them and calling their profits obscene, change the system to make them deal directly with individuals. At present, they do not sell their products to individuals. They sell them to insurance plans and pharmacy benefit companies. If they had to sell their products direct to you, don't you think they would have to lower their prices to stay in business? You can still have a prescription plan, if you choose. But the plan would reimburse you after you bought your medication, thereby ending the backroom wheeling and dealing that drives the costs of medications higher. The presidents plan is for more third party intrusion into your prescriptions, which will only make the costs higher in the end. Again, the president's proposals will result in a "bending of the cost curve" in the wrong direction.

3) Electronic health records (EHR) do not make doctor's more efficient, nor do they save money. Doctors spend so much wasted time documenting every little hiccup, that they lose focus on the patient. EHR's only make the matter worse as the learning curve for these systems can be pretty steep, as well as the operating costs being very high. The return on investment for most doctor practices is negative. The president's proposals will result in a "bending of the cost curve" in the wrong direction.

4) The Comparative Effectiveness Research panel was put into law at the time of the first "stimulus bill". This panel is actually a ploy to put the government in charge of deciding what treatments are worthwhile and will lead eventually to what treatments will be covered. So the newer, higher priced treatments and procedures will eventually be stymied by lack of coverage. For example, let us go back to Premier Danny Jackson. If the heart surgeon was not able to learn to perform the less invasive surgery, due to the higher initial costs during the early years of the procedure, Mr. Jackson would still be in Canada, waiting to have his chest cracked open. Mr. Jackson's choices that he was quoted above would have been limited. Is that the type of healthcare system you want??

I could go further, probably to number 212, but then this would be more like a book, then a newsletter.

So let me conclude by stating my hope, as a physician who prefers to have third party government and insurers out of my exam rooms, is for the Republican party to stand strong against the President's proposals. I also hope they are joined by Democrats to demand the summit start fresh with a totally open slate, and begin again with reforms that give freedom and choice to individuals, with a system designed to lower both insurance premiums, individual costs, and government costs. This will allow the continuation of the best healthcare the world has ever known, while truly bending the cost curve downward.

Unfortunately, I believe the Democrats in Congress, believe they know better than the American public, and will still try to shove this reform plan down our throats. If they do, they will certainly pay the price during the November 2010 elections!! So let us hope they come to their senses, and end the present reform charade.


Wellness Network Update:

Just a reminder. Everyone enrolled in a Wellness Program can receive one therapeutic massage at half price. That is $35 for a one hour massage, and $50 for an hour and a half.


Institute For Medical Wellness New Offers:

Our supplement of the month for February 2010 is Revitalize. Revitalize is our once daily multivitamin that contains an abundance of vitamins and minerals, along with small amounts of antioxidant, and liver detoxifying herbs. Revitalize comes in a bottle of 90 capsules, with most people taking 1-3 a day. I find that one a day is sufficient for most, and also allows the bottle to last for 3 months. Through the end of this month, Revitalize will be available for $5 off its regular price. For more information on Revitalize and the other supplements we offer, please visit here.

I have not yet decided on a supplement of the month for March.

Any ideas or suggestions???

To Good Health!

Steven Horvitz, D.O,
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

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