The Tragedy of American Healthcare

submitted by: admin on 11/08/2016

 

THE TRAGEDY OF AMERICAN HEALTHCARE

Len Saputo, MD

Introduction: The New Terrain of American Health Care

Over the past 25 years the practice of medicine has become a business, physicians have become employees, and patients have become commodities. Healthcare has become more standardized and doctors have been taught to treat “sets of symptoms” with “bags of tools.” They are now minimally trained to “be with” their patients because they are too busy learning about new technologies and doing more treatments. The sacred space that once characterized the doctor-patient relationship is all but gone. Put simply, the heart and soul of medicine has been gutted.

The whole point of ideal healthcare is to maintain a population of healthy, happy people. Preventing disease through living a healthy lifestyle should be the most important job of healthcare. However, when people do get sick the responsibility of their doctor is far more than just getting them back on their feet and back to work. The best doctors are also charged with the responsibility of being healers, which means they must strive to understand why their patients become ill and then guide them back to optimal health in every way: physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually.

Unfortunately, today’s doctors are taught that getting sick is simply bad luck or like the throw of dice or, perhaps, just being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The goal of medicine has become centered on eliminating symptoms rather than treating the underlying reasons for getting them. In many ways, modern medicine looks at the human body much like a watchmaker looks at the parts of a watch. That is one of the reasons why we have so many specialists. The heart doctor knows the heart. The lung doctor knows the lungs. The kidney doctor knows the kidneys. And the list goes on…

So, who knows about the whole person? Not even our psychiatrists know the whole person today. Sadly, they have transitioned from practicing psychotherapy to practicing psychopharmacology. Not only do they receive zero spiritual training, the profession doesn’t acknowledge or believe in spirituality.

This is mindboggling because most physicians do have a personal spiritual belief. They go to church on Sunday and pray to God, but when they go back to work on Monday morning they take off their spiritual hat, put on their scientific hat, and all but ignore anything that has to do with spirit in their work. Doctors are taught one perspective in their medical training and another in their personal religious or spiritual training. They have managed to support two opposing views at the same time.

Hospitals are just as contradictory. Most hospitals, especially religious hospitals, have a chapel or at least a space where people can pray. They allow ministers, priests, Rabbis etc. to come to the hospital in behalf of patients and their families to pray, offer pastoral care, give last rites, etc. So on the one-hand hospitals, like most doctors, do not support spiritual healing when it comes to medical treatment, but on the other hand they provide facilities where anyone can connect with spirit through prayer. Is this simply a matter of patronizing patients to attract more business, or are hospitals and doctors getting and giving mixed messages because they have a double standard?

The separation of science and spirituality began some four hundred years ago when the noted French philosopher, mathematician, and scientist, René Descartes, introduced the world to the science we still use today. When doctors became “scientists” they agreed to throw out the role of spirit in healing because they did not understand how it worked and had no idea how to incorporate it into the practice of medicine. They chose to simply relegate the role of spirit back to the church and somehow convinced themselves that this was still good science.

Good scientists do not throw out what they don’t understand. Closing our eyes does not make reality disappear unless you are a child! It is ironic because it is very often lack of understanding that drives good scientists to make new and revolutionary discoveries.

In actuality, science and spirituality can be viewed as merely different ends of a single spectrum that describes how the universe works. Of course they are always, 100% of the time, completely congruent. They cannot exist in any other way. The challenge for today’s MDs is to begin thinking for themselves and taking a serious look at how spirit affects everything in both their personal and professional lives whether they understand it or not.

It is quite a stretch to think of physical disease as the body’s way of manifesting psychospiritual dis-ease when spirituality is off limits. Yet this is not a new concept. It is what the shamans throughout history believed and how they practiced medicine for thousands of years. They believe illness has spiritual meaning and purpose, and that it is how the cosmos teaches us lessons about how well we are living our lives at a spiritual level. There is no more powerful teacher than the pain and disability of an illness to help get us back on a more meaningful spiritual path.

If you have trust and faith that everything that happens in life has a reason and purpose, it is a huge game changer. We’ll take a much deeper look at this approach in chapter 11.

“The Change We Need”

It has become obvious that US healthcare is no longer focused primarily on providing the best healthcare for all Americans. It is mind-boggling that we spend far more than any other country in the world and still are ranked last among all industrialized countries, and 37th in the overall quality of care among all countries according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Sadly, the goal of healthcare in the US has shifted from service to business. The bottom line has become “return on investment.” If you follow the dollars (as we will throughout this book) you’ll understand how we have managed to spend more and get less.   

When Barack Obama was elected to the presidency of the United States in 2009, many of us felt a sense of hope we hadn't experienced in decades. We were convinced that a new era of transparency was unfolding, and that America would finally resolve its most important social, economic, and political disparities. We sensed a turning point in American history, a social transformation of major proportions. We imagined and longed for a rebirthing of the principles of the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights. At the very least, America had already taken a giant social stride forward by electing its first ever African-American president!

While this "high on America" feeling swept across the land, a highly sophisticated, narcissistic, and evil counter movement to sustain the status quo was also gaining momentum. A small but very powerful segment of the wealthy elite who run the business and politics of America for their own personal gain, had no intentions of allowing "the change we need" to take root and upset their economic and political haven. It wasn't "the change they needed!"

When Barack Obama took his oath of office, the almost unimaginable financial power of these massive economic giants was fully capable and committed to purchasing and controlling the US Congress so it would shape healthcare reform to meet their needs. Since that time, nothing has changed how this frightening scenario works. Nothing! Big business still owns Congress and continues to regulate the business of America.

President Obama enjoyed control of both houses of Congress when he was elected, but only by the barest margin in the US Senate. There were 60 democrats in the Senate, and it would require all 60 votes to pass the new healthcare legislation that Democrats supported and Republicans opposed. This was doable.

It was most ironic that it would be Senator Ted Kennedy, who was possibly the most outspoken and powerful leader championing universal healthcare that would ultimately upset this tenuous balance in the Senate. The senator was dying from a malignant brain tumor that took his life in early 2010. When that happened the Democrats could no longer control Congress to bring universal healthcare for all Americans. They would no longer have the necessary 60 vote majority they would need should a Republican manage to fill the senator’s vacated seat.

And why was a Republican able to win the election to fill his seat? There hadn’t been a Republican senator from Massachusetts since 1978! In addition, in 2008 Barack Obama had just won the presidential election with a massive majority of 62% of the vote in Massachusetts. What happened?

What is even more surprising is that the Democrats took a surprisingly long time to draft the ACA considering they knew their major majority could be in jeopardy at any time. After all, Ted Kennedy’s death was not exactly unexpected.

Because healthcare reform was such a major issue in Barack Obama’s campaign, it would seem that the Democrats would do and spend whatever was needed to preserve a major majority in the Senate. Why didn’t that happen? Does it make you suspicious that there could have been an unknown powerful entity that extended beyond Democrat and Republican Party boundaries that made sure the Senate majority would disappear prior to final drafting and voting on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA)? 

Does it make you wonder if there is a different story than what was reported in the news media about how this happened? What you can be certain about is that the Affordable Care Act was basically gutted before it ever made it to Congressional floor for a vote because it was one critically important vote short. Universal healthcare was dead.

What we got from the Affordable Care Act

The ACA was supposed to protect the health of US citizens and provide affordable healthcare. We were promised it would provide wellness and preventive services, greater access to healthcare, rein in out-of-control healthcare costs, and add more consumer benefits. Unfortunately, these promises were only minimally delivered.

The ACA also came with the so-called “Individual Mandate.” This means everyone is now required by law to have healthcare coverage or face annually increasing fines, insurance companies must be certified by a government agency to be offered through the ACA (if your private insurance company does not qualify you are fined), and lastly that electronic medical records are now required from physicians or they face increasing fines for every year they do not comply.

The Individual Mandate gives the federal government massive power to force the purchase of health insurance that it can tightly regulate. Because it now requires electronic medical records, which on the surface seems like a dream because of the ease of information exchange, the government can now monitor how doctors, clinics, and hospitals practice medicine. They have the legal right to share this information with HHS, IRS, Social Security office, and Homeland Security!

This implies that if healthcare is not delivered as dictated by government standards that there are many government agencies that have the power to steadily nibble away at controlling reimbursement for services, instituting fines for “improper” treatment, suspending licenses to practice, or possibly even imprisoning repeated offenders. Wow! Big brother is here and is not messing around!

So who are the big winners because of the ACA? The first thing we need to remember is who wrote the ACA. Wouldn’t they be the likely ones to benefit the most? Well, that would be the very same people who controlled Congress back in 2009 when the ACA was being drafted. So it’s the insurance companies, big pharma, and the remainder of the medical industry that made “donations” to Congressmen in exchange for consideration for how they would vote!

True enough, a few concessions were delivered, but they were relatively trivial and affordable for the medical industry when you consider the enormous gains corporate America got in return. 

Insurance companies can no longer deny coverage for pre-existing health conditions. Everyone now pays the same premium regardless of their health issues so long as they are not a smoker. There are no longer caps on the amount of coverage for a prolonged illness. Rescission is illegal. Adults under the age of 26 now qualify for health insurance coverage under their parents’ healthcare policy. As part of a “preventive” healthcare program, certain free screening tests and examinations are provided as early detection for a variety of cancers and other diseases. And lastly, more indigent people now qualify for the government subsidized Medicaid program and, below a certain income level there are federal subsidies to help pay for Obamacare. 

It is good that most of these changes were made (we’ll explain more later why not all these changes were actually a good idea or for our benefit!). However, who do you think is footing the bill? Would you expect that insurance companies, who “helped” write much of the content of the ACA, would include legislation to avoid having to absorb the costs for these changes, or would they have the audacity to pass the accompanying increased costs for these services along to the American people?

You betcha! They are not short on chutzpah. And if even if there were costs they would have to absorb, remember that there is no restriction on insurance company’s ability to charge what they want for their premiums. This is one of the big reasons why so many middle class Americans still cannot afford health insurance! The cost of healthcare has not gone down as was predicted. Quite the contrary, health insurance premiums are now higher than ever before.

As it is has always been, it is the beneficiary that pays insurance premiums, or in the case of Medicaid, “we the people” who pay for them through higher taxes. Insurance companies do have to provide more services, but that is music to their ears! All they had to do was increase the cost of their premiums! Because profit is based on a percentage of their total expenses, the more their expenses, the more they make! So it appears that insurance companies are making out like bandits.

You might think that because the ACA offers four different health plan options, that there’s one that meets the needs of everyone. That is not the case. It is good that the ACA provides health insurance for 15 million more low-income Americans that now qualify for Medicaid because the qualifying income level was raised from an annual income of $10,500 to $14,500. However, for those qualifying for federal subsidies there are new financial barriers that continue to make healthcare unavailable. While the idea of subsidies sounds good, reality is that many people simply cannot afford to pay for the high deductibles and copays that are required by the ACA to get the services they need.

Unfortunately, even with the ACA there are still millions of Americans that still do not have health insurance. In addition, for those who have Medicaid, or Obamacare, we have to ask ourselves about the quality of care they are receiving. Did we resolve the disparities that are a large part of why healthcare in the US was ranked 37th in the world by the WHO? Hardly!

The clear and unequivocal winners from the ACA, of course, are the insurance companies. Remember, they wrote it! They get a check directly from the US Treasury every month whether their beneficiaries use “covered” medical services or not. If people cannot afford to use them, “that is their problem!” Now that health insurance is mandatory there are a lot more checks coming into the bank accounts of insurance companies every month than ever before! 

And what about big pharma? You may be wondering how the pharmaceutical industry would benefit from the ACA. As long as the insurance industry is willing to pay the retail costs for drugs, both the insurance companies and the pharmaceutical companies are happy because they both make more money! Remember that the higher the cost for healthcare, the higher insurance premiums will be. And a 15% return on investment is bigger if the total expenses are bigger! Neat little arrangement, huh? 

Who is to blame for the failure of the ACA?

It is simple, nearly all of us!

We already know it is the wealthy elite, Democrats and Republicans, corporate America, the US Congress, the medical profession, President Obama, and every American that is not voting with his or her dollars that are at blame. We can also blame those of us who don’t have the courage to be “the change they want to see,” who have given up and won’t participate in creating “the change we need,” the culture for not embracing an attitude of sharing, giving, and loving one another, our parents and our role models for teaching us that the world is about “I, me, my and mine,” and, lastly, blame ourselves for not engaging in visionary activism (discussed in chapter 13).

There’s enough blame to go around. But where are the solutions? We should never condone actions that are wrong, but we can “forgive those who trespass against us and know not what they have done.” Is there enough forgiveness in our hearts to let go of our anger so we can stop our own suffering and begin living our lives with the love and compassion we all crave? This is our challenge!

Make no mistake, what is happening in healthcare reform is not at all different or separate from what is happening in the reform of any other sector of our society—be it business, law, religion, politics, science, sports or whatever else. The fact is that despite our great hopes and expectations, up until now, Barack Obama’s "the change we need" produced more of a fairy tale than a reality.

And, we should have known that! When you consider how our culture operates today, it is hard to imagine that his promises were realistic. It is not news that politicians tell lies to convince us they will bring us the change we need! But we wanted so much to believe in him as an answer to our hopes and dreams that we believed him out of desperation. Silly us!

Fortunately, many Americans are slowly cutting through the confusion as they are experiencing the effects of the ACA. And they are becoming outraged! The polls in 2009-10 clearly showed that the American public and the medical profession wanted universal healthcare. What changed? It is pretty straightforward, Congress sold us out! And we let them get away with it!

Is it realistic to simply not re-elect those representatives who let us down? Would that change how the major political parties operate? Is the problem our elected officials or is it the power of the political parties that control them? It is amazing that both the Democratic and Republican Parties are so powerful that they controlled how every single member of Congress voted on the healthcare issue! Not one of the 525 members of Congress broke party lines. Every Democrat voted for the ACA and every Republican voted against it. Are our representatives loyal to us or to their party? Are we electing representatives or puppets?

“Sweet dreams are made of this”

Remember the song, Sweet dreams are made of this? “Who am I to disagree? I traveled the world and the seven seas. Everybody is looking for something. Some of them want to use you. Some of them want to get used by you. Some of them want to abuse you. Some of them want to be abused…”

Is it possible that we are so frustrated with life as it is in America that we are vulnerable to the lies and illusions of the “sweet dreams” our politicians promise? Who are we really angry with? Certainly we’re disappointed and angry with lying politicians, but is that the whole story? Could we actually most angry with ourselves because deep down inside we know very well that politicians have been lying to us for thousands of years and we are still buying into their rhetoric. It is as though our minds go to sleep when we hear their sweet dreams. 

It is hard to believe that we have always had the tools and the power to shape medicine and every other aspect of our culture into what we want. We haven’t considered that all we have to do is stop supporting corporate interests that do not serve us well by boycotting their products. If we don’t buy them, they cannot make a profit! If there were no income they would no longer be in business. But we buy into them because we are so attached to the illusions they promise!

The allure of the illusion that the ACA would make healthcare better, especially during the time the bill was being crafted, led to Americans buying into political promises rather than reality. When the hullabaloo was over, little was accomplished beyond rearranging the chairs on the deck of a sinking Titanic!

US healthcare is absolutely not economically sustainable. It is on the edge of a massive financial collapse. Because healthcare now represents nearly 18% of the US gross national product, its collapse would have a major impact not only on the entire US economy, but also that of the rest of the world. Unless we change from a healthcare model focused on treating sick people to one oriented to keeping us healthy, we will continue to spend far more than is necessary and that we cannot afford. Put simply, it costs a lot more money to take care of sick people than healthy people! Our sick care model may be good for the business of healthcare, but it is hardly a way to accomplish what healthcare is all about – and that should be to help people to be happy and healthy.

It is a major disappointment that President Obama failed to support his original campaign promise of bringing universal healthcare to all Americans and begin the transition to wellness and prevention programs anchored in living a healthy lifestyle. It is a shame because we have the ability to bring this model into mainstream medicine right now. We all know that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! I have no doubt that within a decade lifestyle medicine would result in a healthier and financially stable America.

It is even more disappointing that Congress let the American people down in such an appalling way. Its priorities became very obvious when they failed to represent the health needs of Americans, but made certain that their own healthcare insurance was excellent. Even more egregious, it passed the long, convoluted, poorly understood, and more than 2500 page ACA bill. Don't think that either the complexity or length of this bill was an accident. This was done by design.

It is utterly shocking that our elected representatives have the audacity to treat us like idiots and get away with it. It is even more shocking that we’re sitting back and taking it. It doesn’t say much for us! The statement of the Majority Leader of the US House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, epitomized this fact when she recommended to the Democratic Party members that they simply pass the unintelligible ACA bill and worry about what it means later! What? Will we ever awaken from our sweet dreams?

Big Pharma, hospital conglomerates, and the insurance industry did stellar work in investing their money to promote their narrow, self-serving, narcissistic healthcare "solutions” to the US Congress and the White House. The money they spent on lobbying through campaign contributions was mere pocket change for corporate America. What a steal to be able to purchase the US Congress and thereby guarantee the status quo and even greater profits from America’s $2.8 trillion healthcare business.

Big Pharma and the insurance industry invested a mere $500 million in "donations" to Congress in 2009 that appear to be nothing less than outright bribes. Let's do the math. There are 435 members of the House and 100 members of the senate. That comes to 535 people divided by $500 million dollars. Hmmm, that's nearly a cool $1 million per Congressperson if it were divided evenly! It is impossible to follow the dotted lines and come to any conclusion other than Congress has an allegiance to preserving and enhancing the status quo for Big Pharma, the insurance industry, and the wealthy elite who control them and many other highly profitable industries.

So, the monetary value of a political soul in 2009 had a price tag of just less than $1 million per Congressperson. What a steal when one considers that $2.8 trillion was at stake! If you have doubts about this ugly reality, just remember the story of former governor Rod. Blagojevich! He’s the guy who was trying to sell the vacated senatorial seat President Obama held before being elected to the presidency. If he weren’t such a loud mouth dummy, he likely would have gotten away with it!

What Americans want from healthcare

What has become clearer with each passing day is that without radical health care reform, the future of medicine in the US will continue to operate far below its potential as it has for many decades. What Americans want from healthcare is:

·       Healthcare based on wellness and prevention

·       Hi-tech medicine when needed

·       Treatment of the underlying causes for illness

·       Choice of the style of healthcare they prefer

·       Universal healthcare

·       Attention to the role of spirit in healing

Americans want “health” care rather than “sick” care. How much sense does it make to wait until we have lost our precious health reserves that protect us from becoming sick before we take action to stop the downhill decline that leads to disease? This approach, of course, leads to a country that is full of sick people. This is why there’s an epidemic of chronic diseases that now affects at least 50% of the US population. It is also part of the reason why the business of healthcare is flourishing!

Americans may be learning about healthcare, but there’s a long way to go. We pay too little attention to the pollution of our food, water, air, and soil. In California and some other states, voters don’t even care if their food is GMO! We continue to contaminate our food with pesticides, herbicides, additives, preservatives, heavy metals, and God knows whatever else!

Our doctors are constantly reminding us to do regular screening tests for cancer, diabetes, hypertension, osteoporosis, and much more in the name of prevention. However, these tests do not prevent disease and, as I’ll show you in a minute, they often actually create it! Screening tests are designed for the early detection of diseases that are already present. They are not about prevention at all. They are about early detection after our body is already malfunctioning to some extent from a disease! Perhaps we don’t yet have symptoms of illness, but we have already lost a large percentage of our wellness buffer (discussed in chapter?) by the time these so-called screening tests turn up “positive.”

Nonetheless, screening tests can be very valuable and do save lives. Early detection of disease sometimes make it possible to cure people, whereas more advanced disease can lead to permanent disabilities or even death. However, screening tests have become controversial for a very important reason.  

All too often some screening tests lead to overdiagnosis and overtreatment. The United States Preventive Services Task Force has published statements that question the value of mammograms, colonoscopies, pap smears, PSA tests and more. As you might suspect, this is a hotly contested topic where conflicts of interest abound. Once again, follow the dollars and it will become obvious why there’s so much interest in screening tests. It is important to not confuse screening tests with diagnostic tests. If someone has symptoms or physical findings, these tests can be invaluable in making a diagnosis and saving lives.

There will always be a need for hi-tech medicine because there are always going to be people who are sick. We need the drugs, surgeries, and technologies for people with advanced disease. It would be ridiculous to abandon the miraculous strides we’ve made in hi-tech medicine because we know it can get us back on our feet as well as save lives.

The problem we’re facing today, however, is that not only is the cost of healthcare too expensive but that it is also built on silly principles. It is silly because we expect to get sick. That is simply how our healthcare model works. We have not been trained to take care of ourselves by living a healthy lifestyle. Quite the contrary, we’ve been trained to depend on modern medicine to bail us out when we get sick. We’ve been taught to believe there’s a magic bullet for every ailment!

We don’t realize that the most powerful medicine in the universe is our lifestyle. We should pay attention to the style in which we live our lives. If we do that, we won’t get sick. We’ve been watching too many pharmaceutical ads on TV!

It is a no brainer that being well is better for our health and better for our economy. The problem is that once again we’ve been listening to sweet dreams! We’ve been listening to those people that produce hi-tech products that depend on our buying into relying on their products. Big pharma, the medical industry, and the insurance companies have achieved their goals. They have convinced us that it is okay to be lazy and sloppy about our diet, exercise, sleep, stress, weight, and exposure to environmental toxins. Who needs to worry about living a healthy lifestyle when modern medicine tells us such sweet dreams about taking care of us?

Modern medicine treats the symptoms of disease rather than the underlying cause. Its hi-tech polypharmacy and technology may help many of our symptoms, but how safe are they? We now know that they lead to far too many illnesses, hospitalizations, and deaths. The expected side effects in combination with medical errors from drugs, surgeries, and technologies are now the number one cause of death in the US. According to Gary Null’s very well referenced “Death by Medicine,” there are nearly one million deaths every year in the US related to medical treatments! There are millions of hospitalizations every year because of “side effects” from medical treatments. This may increase utilization of healthcare services and profit, but it is not so good for patients.

Medical practice is oriented to treating the symptoms of disease while the body does the healing. While this is an effective way to get people back on their feet, it doesn’t answer the question of why we get sick in the first place. Is it possible there a deeper meaning to illness than just bad luck?

For thousands of years shamans have addressed the effects of illness on the whole person as well the community, planet, and entire cosmos. Integral healthcare requires more than just understanding the biochemistry and physiology of a disease. It is necessary to also understand how disease affects the individual as well as the entire ecosystem in which we live. Perhaps it is time to go back to solid scientific principles and re-examine the role of spirit in healing and see what we can learn!

Americans want to choose the style of healthcare they receive. Many people, for a wide range of reasons, prefer a discipline other than mainstream allopathic medicine. Should anyone be forced to use drugs, surgeries, and technologies when they prefer naturopathic, chiropractic, Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, orthomolecular (nutritional) medicine, anthroposophical medicine, homeopathy, or whatever else?

The problem with using these services is that they are either poorly or not at all reimbursed by health insurance. Patients usually have to pay for them out of pocket. It is a very unfair scenario that mainstream medicine is covered by insurance and other disciplines for the most part are not. Unfortunately, because of the massive economic and political power of mainstream medicine and the medical industry, the playing field for reimbursement of services is far from level. Once again the deepest pockets have the most influence on our lawmakers in Congress.

There is also a growing demand for integrative medical services. MDs are being pushed by public demand to stretch themselves beyond the boundaries of their own discipline and become open to disciplines whose principles may be contrary to their own training. There is an epidemic of chronic disease for which we have no solution. We can use all the help we can get and should be open to any approach that makes reasonable sense. Many people are utilizing more than one style of healthcare at the same time out of desperation, especially when mainstream therapies cannot help. There is an obvious pressing need to open the door to affordable collaborative treatments that may involve multiple disciplines. Clearly, we need all the help we can get.

Because of growing public interest, some hospitals and clinics are beginning to offer integrative healthcare services. Of course, in a very competitive marketplace, their primary interest is to capture market share. Kaiser hospitals are perhaps the leading example of this with their “Thrive” program. These programs are highlighting the personal aspects of healthcare such as listening and caring as well as some limited insurance coverage for services that include Chinese medicine, chiropractic, massage, and nutrition.

Medical research is also beginning to respond to these public demands. Government research is now starting to include investigation into treatments that involve light, sound, magnets, and much more. The future of medicine will no doubt shift dramatically in the next decade or two because we know they provide new solutions to difficult medical problems.

Another rapidly growing segment of Americans is beginning to look for a medical model where illness is not looked at as simple physical disability and/or psychological challenge. There is also a growing interest in understanding the meaning of illness in the context of their whole life story and how that affects their family, community, planet and cosmos. Many Americans, some of which are doctors and other healthcare practitioners, are bringing the role of spirit in healing back into the practice of medicine.

Lastly, Americans want universal healthcare. Everyone is entitled to the same healthcare benefits. Disparities must be eliminated. Today the quality of health care in America is split into two major groups. The first group receives mediocre health care at best. Of course, it is offered to the middle and lower socioeconomic classes.

The second group gets the best health care possible. Of course, only the privileged and the wealthy can get this program. This is because it is unaffordable for the rest of us.

Money talks! It gets you in the hospital you want, the doctors you want, the tests you need in a timely way, any treatment there is, and there are no exclusions, long lines, or red tape that gets in the way of getting the best care possible on the planet.

US healthcare cannot rise above its lowly WHO ranking of 37th in the world in overall quality of care without radical health care reform. And it seems that “we the people” are the only ones who can lead the way when America’s democracy has transformed into an “economy.”

The buck stops with each and every one of us. It has become clear that if we want the change we need, we’re going to have to do it ourselves as a grassroots driven process.

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