The Alliance For Natural Health

The Pulse of Natural Health Newsletter

Stay informed about what is hot in Washington and the states about natural health

Repeal/Replace O-Care?

11

Or just legalize an alternative?

Following a politically disastrous failure to repeal and replace Obamacare earlier this year, reports suggest that House Republicans are “close” to a plan that might pass. We’ll report on this as soon as details become available.

One thing, however, remains abundantly clear: consumer control must be central to any healthcare solution.

From the beginning, ANH-USA opposed Obamacare because it reduced freedom of consumer choice in healthcare. Although we succeeded in getting some useful changes in the bill, we pointed out that the law allows the federal government to define what health is and what health insurance is. This, coupled with the mandated purchase of government-approved insurance—lest one be slapped with fines and even jail—means the government was unwittingly opening the way for special interests such as drug companies, medical device manufacturers, and the American Medical Association to complete their takeover of medicine. We said the resulting government-supported monopolies would also keep driving prices into the stratosphere, and wreck our economy as well as our health. These warnings have proved correct.

At ANH-USA, we have always stood for the freedom of consumers to choose the type of healthcare they want, and the freedom of practitioners to practice without harassment. This is the only way to break the monopolies that are strangling medicine—as well as our economy.

How can these goals be achieved, given current political realities? One elegantly simple solution is to NOT repeal Obamacare, but rather to pass legislation that legalizes the sale of health insurance that consumers prefer.

As it stands now, competition in healthcare is stifled by government regulations. For instance, it is illegal in most cases to sell health insurance in the US that doesn’t cover a wide array of conditions and treatments—including drug rehab and pregnancy services—which many of us will never use. Moreover, you still might not be able to see the doctor you want or go to the hospital you want. Then, despite the fact that your premium is sky-high, you still end up paying out-of-pocket for most of your care.

There is, of course, an irony in this. Obamacare was originally intended to eliminate deductibles and co-pays, but instead drove them through the roof. In addition, Americans seeking the services of integrative physicians—who are almost never covered by insurance—are required to pay twice: they are forced to buy government health insurance they won’t use, and then pay a second time for the healthcare they actually want.

To achieve meaningful reform and lower prices, lawmakers need to repeal the laws that create medical monopolies. For example:

  • Qualified professionals, including nurses, should be able to deliver appropriate medical services.
  • Any medically appropriate treatment should be allowed to compete as a medical treatment—not just those approved by the FDA at a cost of billions, which eliminates anything not patentable. This will greatly increase supply, a precondition for bringing prices down.
  • Lawmakers also must restore power to the consumer by allowing insurance companies to compete with one another, to offer the best plans at the lowest prices.

This means offering everything from catastrophic-only plans, which are especially suitable for those who want integrative medicine, to bare-bones plans with high deductibles—to premium plans that cover everything, including integrative medicine. Consumers should be able to pick from among plans that cover the things they need—not simply among plans that the government deems acceptable but which are really controlled by companies seeking government-controlled monopolies.

Obamacare does not necessarily need to be repealed completely for such competition to take place. Repeal could focus on allowing other approaches as well. The two laws could then run simultaneously, and Americans could choose which system they would like to take part in.

ANH-USA board member Dr. Ronald Hoffman offers more good ideas for how we can go about fixing American healthcare (the following points are taken directly from Dr. Hoffman’s excellent piece on this subject):

  • Foster a return to paying doctors directly, which eliminates pricey insurance and government bureaucrats as arbiters of “correct” medical care.
  • HSAs (tax-incentivized Health Savings Accounts) should be encouraged, and they should be expanded to cover supplements, gym memberships, yoga, and treatment by alternative practitioners.
  • Put an end to state medical boards’ prosecution of doctors merely for providing integrative services.
  • Create an entirely new medical speciality called “iatrinology.” Iatrogenic means medicine-caused harm—by various estimates, injury due to (even correctly-applied) medicines and surgery is among the major causes of death, injury, and disability in the US. Medical overkill is tanking our healthcare economy and undermining the well-being of Americans, so doctors need to cultivate the skill of identifying side effects, and how to wean patients off complex drug regimens. In part, this can be accomplished by the skillful deployment of diet, lifestyle, and scientifically validated
  • Allow for truthful claims about the efficacy of supplements to be communicated to the US public. Under the current system—an extraordinary abridgment of free speech rights—supplement companies are enjoined from claiming that their products do anything to prevent or ameliorate disease, even when conclusive scientific evidence exists to back their claims! Recently, even walnuts, cherries, and pomegranate juice were threatened with ruinous government lawsuits for publicizing their true health benefits. How can Americans make informed health choices when purveyors of low-cost natural solutions are muzzled?

We’re at a tipping point on this issue. We hope Congress can enact some commonsense reforms to our healthcare system that offer affordable care and freedom of choice to all Americans.

 

Other articles in this week’s Pulse of Natural Health:

Scott Gottlieb Appointed by Trump Administration to Head FDA

“Pesticides OK, Despite Risks,” Says EPA

Momentum: Natural Solutions Increasingly Seen as Solution to Opioid Crisis

Pregnant? Avoid Glyphosate

Share.
  • holisticpoet

    We need to scrap the entire current system and adopt a natural health system. Then people will be able to afford health care without insurance!

    • Nancy Wightman

      Try breaking some bones.

  • knutrition

    Healthcare and insurance costs were going through the roof. This fact hurt the poorest most and that reached into the middle class. The ACA was trying to fix an obvious problem. When the conservatives realized it was a good wedge issue they demonized the program, encouraged their constituents not to join which reduced the risk pool and started the process of weakening the law. Yes, the ACA wasn’t the best solution to our healthcare problem which is universal healthcare but it was a reform that could be accomplished.

    Now the republicans are having to keep their promise to get rid of the ACA and it isn’t easy. To me, its’ like lying. One lie leads to another, to another etc. The conservatives created this mess and guess what. They don’t know how to fix it. Of course, universal care is a big government program which is a demon in conservative eyes irregardless of the fact that Medicare works efficiently.

    It’s time for the US to join the civilized world.

    • Lisa O.

      Unfortunately, Medicare is not such a great system. My husband, who is on Medicare, was charged 2 times for the same hernia surgery, and guess what the bill was? $50,000.00!!! Of course, “we” didn’t have to pay for it, but actually we did!! Our tax $ is paying for this egregious price-gouging!! The whole entire health industry, including insurance is severely corrupt, with the people at the top completely in control, and making billions of dollars annually off of all of us little people. The ACA only made matters worse, by driving up the cost of insurance for middle income earners to ridiculous levels. Our insurance went up 100% in 4 years! We had to take our kids off the policy, and now they have a terrible policy that ends up costing the same as we were paying for last year’s premiums for a much better policy!!!
      The medical complex needs to be taken down. Not sure how, since it has supreme power and runs as a Mafia, even killing integrative Dr.’s. (Dozens have been murdered in the last few years!) We need to band together and make our voices heard! Thank you Alliance for Health – you are invaluable!!

  • backtonature

    Opening the door?? Insurance companies, big Pharma and the AMA had their hands out from Day 1. Medical treatment and affordable health care are really 2 different things in the US system. And it’s crazy complicated. And the reason it is unaffordable now is that insurance companies are not getting rich enough so they are pulling coverage. And Lisa, one example doesn’t mean the whole Medicare system is bad.

    I agree to some extent with holistic poet on the nature of medical treatment, the other problem. I don’t have a problem with traditional health care and, certainly, surgery for a serious fracture is a reasonable alternative, for example. But I believe that in the initial stages of a condition, natural treatment may be a better alternative. And for some moderate conditions, natural treatment is better as well, rather than prescription medication that may cause significant side effects. So I would love to see a system where naturopathic physicians were a part of every health practice and covered under all insurance. Only when those treatments are ineffective, should people look to allopathic treatment where the side effects are more likely, but the increased risk is needed because of the increased severity, unless people prefer to stick with the more natural treatment. This would require a complete revamping of our entire medical system,which is trying to stamp out alternative treatment. Even now the FDA is challenging homeopathy, which has been around and proven for centuries and allowed to stand as a legitimate medical practice.

    We need some common sense fixes for the system we have now rather than trying to throw it out and start from scratch. Because there is big money in health care from several players, who will never be starting from scratch.

    • Hannibal Smith

      They’re pulling coverage because of the price controls. What do price controls do? Limit or kill supply and raise prices. Doh! A profit (or a lack of) is an information signal about whether or not you’re providing what the market is demanding. Just like third-party payer (insurance), price controls distort that feedback mechanism. Learn some economics and stop blaming the convenient bogeyman all on making a profit. The world works on making a profit — we’re all inherently envious, selfish and self-centered. Anyone that tells you otherwise is lying or huckstering.

      • Diana Dallal

        I’m sorry, but I disagree with you. Homeopathic medicine has stopped my bronchitis, helped my daughter OVERCOME hayfever permanently, stopped some of my food and airborn allergies, stopped a baby from being colicky, and helped my Chronic Fatigue get better, helped some of my friends overcome allergies as well. You have to follow the protocol in order for it to work. 30 minutes AFTER you ate or drank anything. No caffeine while taking homeopathic substances. I suggest you follow the rules, and try it again, before saying it’s baloney.

  • Camille Gilliam

    Thank you AMA, we really need your help to make our system work better for for us too. My husband had hemorrhagic stroke 9 1/2 yrs. ago, it was brought on from over active adrenal glands, which causes his body to kick out all of the potassium and keep the salt, so he has high BP. They still have nothing for his pain and all of the meds are messing with his liver and kidneys. I have found some natural things that are helping some, but now his knees are gone and we have a 2 story house, so he is stuck up stairs most all of the time.This has left us broke, like paying a $40.00 co-pay for physical therapy 2-3 times a week.

  • Linda Ferland

    We deserve ONLY Universal healthcare!! WE are the ONLY industrialized-nation that doesn’t have universal healthcare. The Insurance Industry does not belong in a healthcare system when their only aim is to make money on our health.

    • Hannibal Smith

      Who do you think supplies a single-payer system? The same bad actors. Insurance isn’t the primary problem per se — its the lack of any free market competition at all levels.

  • Diana Dallal

    Our health system is unsustainable. It’s toxic, it’s SUPER expensive, it’s destructive to the environment AND our bodies. It causes MANY people to die each year, and now, to add insult to injury, the drug companies have hit their goal of making as many people as possible drug addicts. It’s time to realize that even for CANCER there are treatments out there that don’t maim, kill, and poison. Naturopathic medicine is the only reason I’m still alive after 30 years of chronic fatigue, and now cancer. It’s time to stop paying for a system that can’t cure ANY disease. Let’s support the people who can do surgery, and the people who are using natural medicine, and no longer allow pharmaceutical companies to take an herb off the market just because they are “researching” it.