2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

Knowledge Base

Welcome to our extensive library of articles on health concerns and ailments, alternative therapies, nutritional supplements, and much more. Please mouse over the letters to get started. We hope you enjoy browsing.

Health Care Reform and You (and Me)

Posted 08/11/2009

As the Washington battles over health care reform continue, these past weeks have left me seriously conflicted. My moods swing between glee at the thought of health care reform and gloom as it seems we’ve once again capitulated our country’s needs to corporate bottom lines. You’d think that as a lifetime Chicagoan, I’d be used to this by now.

From the looks of it, if any health care reform gets passed, the costs will be enormous, with the overruns channeled into the giant private health insurance companies which, to quote a long-dead and once-jailed Illinois politician “can smell that meat a-cookin’.”

The result I’m anticipating seems a far cry from a system that would give equal health care coverage for all.

If you want a reasonable analogy to our current health care system, it might be helpful to compare it to cancer. Yes, that’s right. The health care system has become America’s cancer and unless its growth is stopped, it may ultimately destroy our nation.

The first malignant cell appeared in 1973 when Congress passed the HMO bill (bipartisan, by the way, authored by Teddy Kennedy and signed by Richard Nixon), essentially encouraging health care for profit. In the ensuing 35 years, this cancer has metastasized throughout the entire health care system. Simple greed compels everyone to seek a piece of the action.

• Health insurance companies rake in incredible profits. UnitedHealth Group’s CEO Bill McGuire has earned $3 billion in salary and options–that’s not a typo–while the people his company insures grovel for their benefits and doctors file lawsuits against United for reimbursement.

• Pharmaceutical companies license drugs developed abroad before marketing them to the US public at prices many times the price the identical drug sells for in the country that developed it (Forest Labs CEO Howard Solomon’s paycheck for this creativity was $36 million).

• Hospitals bill patients and insurance companies as if someone’s finger was stuck on the “0” button. My wife’s recent four-day stay tabbed in at $95,000. My five-minute skin cancer removal $5,000.

• Even relatively small players try to cash in. Medical equipment suppliers sell aluminum walkers for $250, when you can buy one in any resale shop for $5. Medical laboratories bill insurance companies (and patients) hundreds of dollars for blood tests that cost pennies to perform.

• And, believe me, there’s no national tag day in the works for most doctors, whose mantra for 30 years has been “Bill ‘em high, bill ‘em often.”

In the end, we spend mountains of dollars on pretty mediocre health care. Europe and Canada have far better health statistics than the US. When I last checked, we were not quite at third-world levels, but somewhere close to the Balkans. Those stalwarts who continue to believe America’s health care system is so great remind me of the old joke about the restaurant where the food is awful but you keep going because the portions are huge.

If the health care system continues unchecked like this, we’ll be wiped out economically–both individually and as a nation. See? It’s like cancer.

But to carry the analogy one step further, there are, sadly, few magic bullet treatments for cancer. Although I myself would like to awaken one morning with universal single-payer health care a la Canada, I am realistic enough to know there are probably too many vested interests, too many lobbyists, too much money involved, and too much public confusion for this to occur in my lifetime.

In reality, cancer is a chronic illness with setbacks and gains. These days more and more cancer patients live for decades, often dying of old age or illnesses utterly unrelated to their formerly-fatal diagnosis.

It’s going to be this way with health care, our 21st century “chronic illness.” We’ll see a major gain when Obama’s bill passes–at least there won’t be 50 million uninsured Americans. The trade-off is that a lot of the people paying for it won’t really see much of an improvement and the lion’s share of tax dollars earmarked for health will continue to make the rich richer.

For me, as a practicing physician of many decades, I do embrace Obama’s broad outline of a plan. Every single work day as long as I can remember, I’ve been compelled to make uncomfortable decisions about what diagnostic tests, treatments, and specialists any given patient can afford. I’m disappointed that supporters of Obamacare had to relent on so many important points and feel a knot in my stomach when I see a photo in the news of an unemployed (and likely uninsured) single mom holding up a sign that reads “Fight Obamacare.” Somebody paid her to hold that sign, likely so she could feed her kids.

I urge you to click two articles. First, this New York Times editorial entitled “Health Care Reform and You.” It’s a couple weeks old, so it’s dated already. Nonetheless, the decisions Congress makes in the next few weeks will affect us all for decades to come.

Second, sent to me by my editor Heidi Hough, whose friends report you can see smoke coming from her ears when she reads about the way the health care bill is going. Here’s why.

Leave a Comment


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Upcoming Workshops

Finding Unity – Movement & Meditation

Sunday, February 5th
12:00pm to 2:00pm; $40 Registration Fee

Our world is in a constant state of flux and uncertainty. This can cause occasional turmoil in our lives when the fluctuation feels overwhelming. At these moments it is important to pause and reconnect to our true nature, which is to feel safe, content, and whole.  More>>

 

Facial Guasha Class

The Ultimate DIY Anti-Aging Facial!

Join us and learn a traditional Chinese facial rejuvenation technique that you can do yourself!

Facial guasha is an easy to learn technique that:
* encourages blood flow and promotes radiance
* prevents wrinkles
* activates cells to regain facial elasticity
* drains fluids to detoxify skin and reduce puffiness
* sloughs off dead skin cells
* uplifts and tones skin
* firms up facial muscles
* minimizes dark circles
* promotes a healthy, younger and more radiant look

Your skin will thank you and will look more radiant, smooth and younger!

When: Monday, March 20th, 7-8:30
Where: WholeHealth Chicago, 2265 N. Clybourn Avenue
Cost: $50 includes guasha tool and anti-aging facial oil

Space is limited, pre-registration required by calling 773-296-6700.

Mari Stecker has practiced acupuncture at WholeHealth Chicago for over 20 years. She offers acupuncture facial rejuvenation as well as treatments for many dermatological conditions including acne, psoriasis and eczema. She also treats a full range of conditions including pain, fertility and allergies.
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Navigating Your Health Care Without Going Broke

    Navigating Your Health Care Without Going Broke

    Last week I talked about the problem many of you are facing with skyrocketing insurance premiums and deductibles so astronomical you wonder if you have any health insurance at all. We got into this fine pickle because: US healthcare prices are the highest in the …Read More »
  • Treacherous Times In Healthcare

    Treacherous Times In Healthcare

    Two related ideas come together in this Health Tip and I want to convey why this is all happening. First, a large part of our day at WholeHealth Chicago is spent dealing with insurance companies denying you benefits. Second, many patients have been telling me …Read More »

January Sale: 20% off the UltraLux IV HD-LED Light Therapy Module.

SAD doesn’t stand a chance!

More>>