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

SICKO Part One

Click here for the original post.

Three movies in my entire life have moved me to tears, and Michael Moore’s SiCKO was one of them.

(The other two? Walt Disney’s Snow White–I was four, the witch–and at 25, Star Wars, utter boredom).

Last month I saw–twice, in fact–this devastating critique of the American health insurance industry and its collusion with the federal government. Health insurance is a very sensitive issue for me. Every hour of every day the endless confrontation of doctors and their patients with the health insurance industry increases everyone’s stress and interferes with decent medical care.

Because I believe SiCKO is one of the most important documentaries ever made, I’ll be devoting several health tips to my own suggestions on coping with your health insurance and the incredible greed and unfairness of the healthcare industry.

For 15 years, before I got into integrative medicine, I was medical director of a very large Chicago medical group, supervising the doctors who cared for almost 20,000 HMO and PPO patients in 16 citywide clinics. As most HMO and PPO members will tell you, the insurance coverage is great as long as you stay healthy, but woe betide your financial future if you develop a serious and/or chronic medical condition.

Director Michael Moore wonders aloud why Americans are so fearful of government-funded universal health care, especially when they so easily accept schools, libraries, and police and fire protection, all of which we consider our “right” as citizens.

In fact, as a good comparison to the current state of our health insurance system, imagine if firefighter service were “privatized” like health care. Fire houses and firefighters would be in networks (like doctors)–Humana, Cigna, and so forth–and even though your local firehouse was down the street from your home, if you had an emergency you’d have to contact someone in your firehouse network or face serious financial consequences (just like people in HMOs and PPOs).

Worse yet is your attempt to purchase “firefighter insurance.” You might be poorly rated or not eligible for coverage at all if you once had a fire in your home even during childhood (“pre-existing condition”). Unable to get individual coverage for firefighter insurance, and certainly unable to afford the thousands of dollars you’d have to pay out-of-pocket were you to need a bevy of fire trucks to extinguish a fire, you go to work for a corporation that offers firefighter insurance as a benefit.

Then the dark day comes when your house catches fire (you get very sick). You quickly search for your insurance card, call the 800 number, punch through an agonizingly slow phone tree until you get someone who tells you that you’ll have to answer a few questions before you can get pre-approval to release the fire trucks (get medical treatment).

In the meantime, the fire is spreading.

Finally, the helpful firefighter insurance person agrees to send trucks from the “network” fire station, but that crew is currently busy with another fire. They’ll be with you in an hour. You scream that there is a fire station down the street and you can see the trucks sitting there. She says that you’ll be going out-of-network and that you run the risk of non-covered benefits (like HMO/PPO patients), but that the decision is yours. You’ll be obligated, of course, for the higher deductible.

You race down the street, scribbling a huge check while running. The firefighters arrive, but it’s too late. Your home is in smoldering ruins. A few weeks later, living in a motel, you get more bad news. The out-of-network coverage wasn’t approved because they claim the in-network fire trucks were on the way.

And so, with a real story of illness instead of a fire, begins SiCKO. A married couple thought they had health insurance, but when a crisis struck they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses, lost everything (home, retirement savings), are bankrupt, and moving in with their children.

More to come.


Join our Newsletter

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

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.

Telemedicine – Now Available at WholeHealth Chicago

In order to maintain your continuity of care, WholeHealth Chicago now offers telemedicine appointments with most of our practitioners. During a telemedicine visit, you and your healthcare provider can review medical history, discuss symptoms, arrange for prescriptions, and more. When necessary, labs and diagnostic imaging can be ordered from a facility near your home, and our Natural Apothecary can ship supplements quickly to your door.

Please contact Patient Services for details and scheduling a telemedicine appointment, or to change a regular appointment to telemedicine by calling 773-296-6700.

We’re looking forward to meeting with you in our virtual consultation room soon.

DIAGNOSE-IT-YOURSELF: COVID-19

Far and away, the commonest phone call/e mail I receive asks about COVID-19 diagnosis.
Just print this out, tape it on your refrigerator door, and stay calm.

ALLERGIES

• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Red, swollen eyes
• Itchy eyes and nose
• Tickly throat
• No fever

COLD
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Sore throat
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild dry cough
• Rarely a low fever

STREP THROAT
• Painful sore throat
• Hurts to swallow
• Swollen glands in neck
• Fever

FLU (Standard seasonal flu)
• Fever
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Sudden onset over few hours
• Headache
• Sore throat
• Fatigue, sometimes quite severe
• Muscle aches, sometimes quite severe
• Rarely, diarrhea

CORONAVIRUS-COVID 19
• Shortness of breath
• Fever (usually above 100 degrees)
• Dry cough (no mucus)
• Slow onset (2-14 days)
• Mild muscle aches
• Mild fatigue
• Mild sneezing

Recent Health Tips

  • Commonly Missed Diagnosis: Early Autoimmune Disease

    Amazingly enough, there are more than 100 different autoimmune conditions, which collectively are responsible for more chronic illness and disability in women than heart disease and cancer combined. Men can get autoimmune diseases too, but the predominance in women (2:1) is striking and also puzzling, though current thinking attributes this susceptibility to a combination of genes and hormones. Because autoimmune conditions can affect any area Read More

  • Six Commonly Missed Diagnoses: B12 Deficiency

    You’re pretty sure you know your body and you tell your doctor you’re just not feeling right. You’re tired, maybe a little depressed, a bit achy. Maybe your digestion is “off.” The list of foods you can’t seem to enjoy is definitely longer. Your doctor’s empathic, not at all dismissive of your symptoms, but after a physical exam and some apparently appropriate tests she can’t Read More

  • What is Low-Dose Naltrexone (LDN) and Can It Help Me?

    Ten years ago April marks the anniversary of the first time I wrote about low-dose naltrexone (LDN). I described it as an orphan drug, meaning that its patent had long ago expired, that it was generic, and that it was not owned by any one company. For these reasons and because they’d never recoup their investment, no Big Pharma company was interested in pursuing the Read More

Join our Discount Program

Member benefits include 10% off all your purchases. Low, one-time membership fee of $25 ($35 for family).

MORE INFORMATION

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!