How Conventional Medicine Approaches Preventative Medicine
There are various ways that we can manage wellness and illness and we can separate these into the classes of being proactive and being reactive. Proactive medical care looks to seek out optimal health and takes steps to preserve and maintain it and avoid disease states, where reactive approaches step in only when disease is present and seeks to correct it.
The proactive approach is of course the superior one, beyond dispute really, although in our present world we don’t really focus on it very deeply, and only rely on some basic ideas which in themselves may be quite flawed and fly in the face of science even, like the dietary recommendations that conventional medical practice embrace, which never were based upon sound science and have been actually shown to be harmful overall.
The scope of preventative medicine in conventional thinking is a very limited one, where we’re told to get some exercise and eat a certain way and of course see your doctor regularly, who is eager to prescribe certain drugs which they believe to be helpful but actually make us more ill on balance.
When we do treat disease, there is a preventative side to this as well, where the task at least should be to prevent things from getting worse at a minimum, and hopefully to actually treat the condition and not the symptoms.
How Conventional Medicine Treats Conditions
A good example of how conventional medicine messes this up is with type 2 diabetes, where they treat the symptom, high blood sugar, but ignore the underlying causes. Type 2 diabetes has been shown to actually be a disease caused by excess insulin, and if you increase insulin you will lower blood sugar for a time but accelerate the cellular damage by adding even more insulin, and this ends up making things worse rather than better.
We instead should be addressing the underlying cause, primarily the toxic insulin levels that are present, and look to normalize these levels, not make them worse. A similar approach is taken with other chronic diseases as well, we just look to treat the symptoms and don’t even care what are behind them, which is much like treating a fever by lowering it instead of treating the underlying infection that is causing it.
With no real focus on prevention and health maintenance, with what little advice that is given being for the most part well off the mark, by waiting for diseases to be bad enough that they can prescribe their medications and surgeries, and without a focus on actually treating diseases and preventing them from getting worse or reoccurring, it’s not hard to see why health care is in such a mess.
We spend more and more on health care, yet our health is deteriorating overall rather than improving. This is primarily because ideal health is not really a goal of our health care system, but this all should not be too surprising given that this is all a business and more illness is simply a lot more profitable.
Such a thing would be less likely to happen to the great extent that it does if not for people putting so much faith in the system and simply accept its recommendations and pay for its treatments without really questioning very much if at all.
When we do question the wisdom of health care recommendations, we almost always will consult with another practitioner of the same medical philosophy and therefore while the answers may differ, they won’t very substantially among those with similar training.
There are some procedures such as dealing with acute trauma or intervening in a life and death situation that heroic measures may be needed and be appropriate, because in these situations we are treating actual afflictions rather than their symptoms, things like wounds and broken bones which can benefit from intervention, to stop you from bleeding to death for instance or having your bones heal more correctly.
For the most part though, conventional medicine takes a very superficial view of afflictions and health care management in general, and this results in treatments that often do not work very well and often worsen rather than improve outcomes in the long run, like our example of giving type 2 diabetics more insulin rather than realizing that too much of this is the real problem.
Symptoms are generally the body’s attempt to correct things, to seek to restore homeostasis, like a fever raises your temperature to help fight infections or our cells becoming insulin resistant to seek to protect themselves more against the ravages of toxicities from excess glucose and fat being driven into them from excessive dietary intake and excess insulin levels.
Even something as simple as pain is an attempt to improve things, like when you injure your leg and it hurts more to walk. This conditions us to place less stress on the leg to let it heal, but if we take pain killers instead so we can move around more normally, this will delay the healing. We never just want to kill the pain, we must also heal the problem.
How Health Care Insurance Participates in All of This
This is all a completely wrong approach, and it is no surprise really that as we spend more and more on this sort of treatment, the worse chronic conditions become. Metabolic disease, all of which are essentially caused and driven by high insulin levels, is exploding, and we’re at the point now where the majority of the population suffers from hyperinsulinemia and its associated conditions such as obesity, diabetes and pre-diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and more, and their incidence just keeps rising.
We can simply just look at obesity as the canary in the coal mine, because this is directly caused by our storing more nutrients than we need, which is the primary purpose of insulin. We’re becoming fatter and fatter with each passing year, and while obesity used to be viewed more as a condition, it’s becoming so prevalent that it is for the most part just ignored.
Even when we didn’t ignore it as much, people were just told to go on diets and conventional medicine never really cared about the fact that this is a condition caused by an imbalance of various hormones, including ones that make us hungrier and drive us to eat more than we should, as well as other hormonal disturbances that influence our storage of body fat.
In any case, the management of our health overall is becoming more and more atrocious, and given that health care insurance is limited to covering only expenses, and don’t cover claims from practitioners that take a more holistic and comprehensive approach to treatment, health care insurance does serve to feed this beast and impact our health accordingly.
To be fair, very expensive treatments are really the sole province of conventional medicine, and given that insurance should only cover big expenses, there really should be no need to insure against any preventative treatments or any treatment that does not involve a big outlay of money, including alternative approaches.
People are of course going to be encouraged more to seek treatments that are covered by their policies because this will involve their paying out only a minimum fee for them, and this is especially the case in a public system where no out of pocket costs are involved.
By buying coverage for more incidental expenses, the sort that should not be insured against in the first place, the additional costs involved can eat up one’s health care spending budget, whether this be directly out of pocket, by way of a lesser salary due to these costs being essentially deducted, or through the higher tax rates needed to pay for these additional coverages.
In the end, this results in more money being spent on premiums and less money to spend on treatments outside the scope of the policies, and health insurance is a primary driver of health care spending in fact.
Health Insurance and Prevention
Insurance generally is very focused on prevention, and will reward people whose risk of costs are lower. If you are insuring your home against fire and you install smoke alarms, you will receive lower rates and insurance companies are at the forefront of encouraging people to prevent things.
For whatever reason, this is not the case at all when it comes to health care insurance though, as their emphasis is being reactive, not proactive. There is so much research and evidence out there regarding how we may manage health care much better by becoming more active and actually looking to treat conditions not symptoms, but we actually have to seek this out to discover it.
It makes sense that conventional medicine shuns anything that may question the validity of their approaches, as they have a stake in the status quo and even expanding their role, and they will naturally resist attempts to have themselves overthrown to any degree, and especially significant ones.
Insurance companies generally have a stake and a big one in seeking to lower the amount of claims they pay, wishing less and not more homes burning down, but with health insurance it seems as if they would prefer more fires, which on the face of things does not seem to make much sense.
Health care insurers do a huge amount of business, just like conventional health care providers do, and the two are actually linked, which makes this very different from other types of insurance.
A simple way to envision this is to imagine a scenario where people only insured against major health events, just like they do for the most part with other insurances. Insurance revenues would plummet, and this would mean that these companies would make much less money.
The same would happen if people actually did take a more proactive approach to their health and especially if they moved away from conventional medicine. Health insurance companies actually strongly prefer we spend a lot on health care and this allows their scope to remain very broad, instead of it just being limited to covering much more rare and expensive events.
This is a lot like why retailers want you to spend money on extended warranties rather than your bearing the risk yourself, because they can make a profit on this and retailers make more profit from the warranty often times than they do selling the item to you.
In a very real sense, a more rational and efficient approach to health care which would involve moving away from conventional treatment toward a more proactive approach to health care would hurt both providers and insurers.
This is the reason why, instead of being at the forefront of looking to reduce health care spending, insurance companies, ironically enough, lead the way in opposing it. You shouldn’t expect a retail clerk to talk you out of an extended warranty, nor should you expect a health insurance provider to get you to change your approach to health given that this is perceived to involve a lesser role for the provider and less potential to profit from you ultimately.
We could redesign the system so that this isn’t so much of a factor, with prevention and effective care being the primary directives, but the present system simply is not set up for this. This ultimately all comes down to demand and until enough people demand these changes, we won’t ever see them as the current system works beautifully for all those who profit from it in one way or another.
Although we’ve made a little progress over the past few years in moving toward this better scenario, conventional medicine still has a vice grip on the great majority of people, and it will require both a lot of time and effort to open enough people’s eyes to the failures of our current system in order to produce the changes we require to fix this.
Robert really stands out in the way that he is able to clarify things through the application of simple economic principles which he also makes easy to understand.