Here’s a fact that most people today don’t consider: The medical industry doesn’t make any money if you’re healthy. It’s a simple fact. So simple that it seems obvious. Yet few people think about it. And its implications are wide reaching.
Remember this, the medical industry isn’t just your doctor or your hospital. It’s the drug companies, the pharmacies, the medical device manufacturers, and the federal government (to name just a few). While your doctor and the people at your local hospital want to see you feeling better, the rest of these agencies have a vested interest in seeing you stay fat and sick. It sounds inconceivable, but consider this.
Have you ever looked at pictures of Americans during World War II and seen anyone who was overweight? Sure, there were a few. But the vast majority of people living in the 1940s were thin and healthy. Compare that to pictures of today, where over 74% of Americans are overweight.
Some might say that was because we had just come out of the Great Depression when there wasn’t as much food. But by the 1940s, hunger in the U.S. was widely considered to be a solved problem – and remained so until the mid-1960s. So what happened in the 1960s that changed everything? And how does it affect your health today?
The Government Steps In
At least two major events occurred in the 1960s that changed the health of Americans. The first step involved starvation. For years, the U.S. government stayed out of food distribution and let the states give food surpluses to poor people. The state governments acted as a distributor of food goods and played a major role in eliminating hunger. Then, by the mid-1960s, many states had ended distribution and turned to an early form of food stamps. More on that in a moment.
The second major event was the beginning of the Great Society under President Johnson. In the 1960s, President Johnson signed into law the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The law created Medicare Part A to pay for hospital care and limited skilled nursing and home health care. It also created Optional Medicare Part B, which is to help pay for physician care.
The Medicaid side of the law is a separate program to assist states in covering not only long-term care for the poor but also to provide health insurance coverage for certain classes of the poor and disabled.
All of these programs seem great. Many people have benefitted from these programs. In fact, the life expectancy in the U.S. has gone up from 69.92 to 78.74. This is the positive side of these programs. On the negative side, the longer life span doesn’t mean we’re healthier.
Since 1970, health spending has gone up from $74.6 billion in 1970 to $3.3 trillion in 2016. This includes spending on any healthcare and health-related activities (such as administration of insurance, health research, and public health). Of course, our population has increased significantly and we’ve had significant inflation.
But both of those factors don’t account for the huge increase in spending. On a per capita basis, health spending has increased nearly 29-fold over the last four decades, from $355 per person in 1970 to $10,348 in 2016. But if you eliminate inflation and use constant 2016 Dollars, the increase was about six-fold from $1,762 in 1970 to $10,348 in 2016. So our spending has gone up by nearly 10 times in 40+ years. So here’s the question: Who benefits and why does it matter?
Who Benefits From Exponential Growth of Health Care?
You would think that the people paying for the health care would benefit. Surely we have in many ways. But we haven’t been the biggest beneficiaries. That distinction goes to the medical industry, which now makes up one-seventh of our economy.
With that massive benefit comes some negatives. And those negatives play a huge role in your ability to get and stay healthy. The food stamp program is the case in point.
During the Obama administration, the number of people on the food stamp program went up by 70%. After his presidency, a study wanted to find out how healthy these people were compared to the general population. They found that Americans on food stamps were more likely to be obese than other groups — including people who didn’t receive benefits – even though they were poor enough to qualify.
So the very program designed to help these folks avoid starvation has actually caused them to suffer from significant health problems, including diabetes.
With Medicare and Medicaid, the medical industry once again is the big beneficiary. These programs put significant restrictions on the type of medical care you can get. Try using your Medicare on an alternative doctor – it won’t be covered.
The reason is clear. The government wants to keep the money flowing a certain direction. The last thing they want is for you to get healthy. At that point, you no longer need them and the money stops flowing.
Denying You Treatments That Cure
The biggest problem with this is that the government doesn’t want you to have treatments that actually cure your illnesses. In fact, other than antibiotics (which aren’t working as well these days), there isn’t a drug on the market that cures a disease. There is one being advertised on TV now that says it cures an illness. I’ll be curious to see how long the commercial runs. The FDA doesn’t like the word cure. Any supplement manufacturer that uses the word is asking the FDA to come down on it.
But there are treatments that will cure you. The FDA knows it. The drug companies know it. But your doctor probably doesn’t – unless he uses alternative medicine.
Both the FDA and Big Pharma don’t want you to have access to these cures. Take CBD, for instance. The FDA knows CBD will cure certain ailments. The drug companies know it too. That’s why they are developing CBD drugs. While the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) still considers CBD a Schedule I controlled substance, which is the strictest classification the agency has for controlled substances, the FDA is approving drug company products that contain CBD. The DEA now classifies these drugs as Schedule V controlled substances, which is the lowest classification. But the DEA hasn’t changed the overall classification of CBD. Why not?
Doing so would open the drug companies up to competition that they couldn’t survive. By using a very small amount of CBD, their products will likely help alleviate some symptoms. But they aren’t likely to cure anything. That’s the perfect product for the drug companies. They help you just enough to keep you buying their product.
The headline for the press release was “DEA Limits Rescheduling of CBD to FDA-Approved Epidiolex.” In other words, only the FDA approved CBD is allowed. They don’t want you to have the stuff that will actually cure you.
The DEA, HHS, and FDA have long acknowledged that studies have found that CBD does not have the same affinity and effects as THC, the mind-altering component of marijuana. Yet it remains a Schedule I controlled substance. This has to change.
Tight Control Over Cancer Treatments
One of the most over-controlled illnesses the government overseas is cancer. The FDA rules cancer treatment with an iron fist. Any company or person who dares to say their product treats cancer successfully will experience the full force of the federal government coming down on them.
Back in 2007, the FDA came down hard on two promising and non-toxic anti-cancer drugs. One was the anti-prostate cancer drug Provenge. The FDA Advisory Committee voted 13-4 in favor of approval. Yet the agency torpedoed the drug. The favorable vote came after discussions of the drug in a very public meeting. The four votes against it came from powerful members of the oncology establishment. They launched an unprecedented public relations campaign. They accused the majority of incompetence and naiveté concerning cancer products. Their efforts succeeded and we didn’t have access to this safe cancer treatment until 2010 when the FDA succumbed to public pressure to approve the drug.
Another drug the FDA snuffed out was Junovan. This drug demonstrated increased survival in kids with bone cancer. So why would the FDA not approve it? You won’t believe the answer to that question. It was because the odds of effectiveness were only 94% in a statistical test rather than 95%. Yes, you read that right!
At the time, Dr. Mark Thornton, former medical officer in the FDA Office of Oncology Products, wrote: “It will be years before we know the full impact of these decisions and how many cancer patients, young and old, have had their lives cut short as a result. While our lawmakers obsess over ‘safety reforms,’ no one is holding this government agency accountable for its complicity in stalling therapies for life-threatening diseases.” It’s now years later and we still don’t have access to this drug.
So What Can You Do?
Stay as healthy as you can. Exercise, eat a healthy diet, and take supplements to keep your body in tip-top shape. This is especially important if you can’t afford an alternative-minded doctor. These doctors usually don’t take insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or VA payments. There’s a reason for this – the doctors want to cure you. These agencies don’t help them do that.
Second, don’t go to your doctor unless you have to. The one caveat to this is if you have an alternative-minded doctor who has one goal – to help you get and/or stay healthy. Make sure you also stay out of your local hospital. I met with an orthopedic medical clinic yesterday who has pulled all of their surgical procedures out of the local hospital. Why? Because their patients were getting sick in the hospital. It’s a dangerous place to be.
Third, elect officials who aren’t beholden to the drug companies. This is extremely difficult, as the drug companies own most of the federal elected politicians. They contribute millions to political campaigns on both sides of the aisle. Work hard to find people who can’t be bought by the medical industry.
It’s hard enough to stay healthy when the bugs (bacteria, viruses, etc) are after you. But it’s even harder when those who say they’re looking out for you offer you nothing but chemicals that make you sicker.
Streib L (8 February 2007). "World's Fattest Countries." Forbes.
Janet Poppendieck (1999). "Introduction, Chpt 1". Sweet Charity?: Emergency Food and the End of Entitlement. Penguine.
Wall St J, May 14, 2007.