The Leading Cause of Death—Pain

painR1It’s 3 AM and your body aches in relentless agony.  You’ve already had twelve hundred milligrams of ibuprofen and the pain continues.  Hot baths, cold baths, and nothing seems to give you relief.  The emotional pain begins as you realize that you will not be able to work and your family needs your income to survive.  As emotional pain and physical pain dance around your central nervous system, despair becomes your state of being.  The remedy is not prescription pain meds or street drugs.

Recent headlines screamed that the leading cause of death for persons under fifty is pain med abuse.  Having lived with pain since the late 1970s before overcoming it in the 2000s, I would say the leading cause of all death is PAIN.  Is it that opiates are being abused, or is it that there is so much pain that humans will do almost anything to relieve themselves of pain?  The signal that your body needs repair becomes worse than the underlying condition. As the pain continues the natural response of our body is to start shrinking the brain and other neural tissue. As the quality of life fails, emotional turmoil leads us into a state where death seems to be better than life.  Why have we come to this stage of pain?  Pain is the number one ailment in the US with 100 million people in some form of pain.

The cause of pain in the US has been the result of trying to maintain the largest segment of the economy as the medical industry.  To accomplish this feat, it has been necessary to manipulate society in many different areas. 

  • The food supply has been changed so that there are many artificial chemicals that our bodies cannot handle. How food is processed is another abuse to our food supply that the body does not respond well to. This prevents our bodies from achieving the normal healing processes provided by food. When we don’t heal, chronic pain is the result.
  • We have been scared from the sun for over the last fifty years.  Vitamin D will damage your body and UV radiation will give you cancer.  This lie has led to much of our pain.  Not only does UV light provide many beneficial compounds when proper solar exposure is maintained, but also the other side of the visible spectrum or near infrared provides many healing benefits. This includes energy to our mitochondria for cellular healing.
  • Around the beginning of the Twentieth Century, funding for universities that taught patent medicine while not funding natural healing technologies became the way of American medicine.  This led us to find drugs sourced from natural compounds. To understand this, consider the natural anti-inflammatory salicylates that were modified to make aspirin or salicylic acid. Natural compounds were modified to make drugs and our bodies do not respond well to them.  Also, treating chronic pain with drugs instead of vitamins and minerals is just stupid. Congress even went as far as to say that you cannot advertise anything that is intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease without going through the FDA’s drug process.  If you don’t drink water you will die.  According to the FDA, if you advertise that water will prevent death, it is a drug.
  •  Now as congress battles over healthcare, it is not about health, but sustaining the medical sector economy.  There is some ethics involved as failure of the economy could lead to pain.  One medical practice decided to start treating their patients with vitamins and minerals based on the huge amount of medical research.  The result for eight thousand patients was a reduction in office visits from four per patient per year to one visit per patient per year.  It does not take an accounting genius to determine that this was huge reduction in income.  Imagine the decline in the US economy if the entire population was given an adequate intake of vitamins and minerals.  With almost twenty percent of our economy in the medical sector, the US would plunge into recession.  Our congressmen are now having to balance the health of the economy with the health of the population.  What would you do?  Poor policy decision over the last century has put us into a very sad position.  If we modeled our health policies like the rest of the modernized countries, there would be a loss of over five million health insurance jobs and many medical and pharmaceutical jobs.  Congress has consistently decided in the past that the ill health of the population is better that a loss in the economy. The policies of Health and Human Services can be defined in three simple words: Markets before mandates.

In the decades of my chronic pain, I only survived, through the grace of God, by being able to read medical research papers on nutrition for health and apply the findings to my health.  Does everyone have this capability?  We have put our trust in institutions because we are told that America is the greatest country in the world.  It is a great country, but it has some very bad policies for health.  I have a friend that went into medical practice in the 1970s. He constantly complained that he had no solution for the aches and ill health of the aged.  Obviously, he had not been trained in nutritional solutions.  This is the general course of the medical practice today.

With the new development in research for mitochondrial (cellular energy) health, our understanding of how processed carbohydrates lead to poor health has increased significantly.  It seems that our ancient ancestors had a better understanding of how food heals us than our institutions of today.  If you wait until this becomes common practice of using foods for health, you most likely will be dead.  It will take many decades for our system to change. Over the last half century, we have been scared from the sun, told to use fats that were not healthy, substituted sugar for fats, and continued the use of drugs instead of vitamins and minerals.   

To begin our journey of recovery, please consider eliminating flour from grains and all processed sugar that includes high fructose corn syrup.  Find a source from someone that has studied this for decades.  I have found Dr. Mercola to a have a firm grasp of nutrition for health.  His new book, Fat for Fuel, is very enlightening.  You may also want to subscribe to his daily newsletter. Don’t be alarmed as it is very complicated because of the constant barrage of bad information from our institutions. The Whole30 diet plan may be a good place for you to start. Here are the Whole30 rules. Here is what to expect in the first thirty days as you recover from processed foods. There are many other sources for diet like the paleo diet. Pick one and embrace it for your health.  –Pandemic Survivor

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Failure of the US to Protect Citizen’s Health

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It was March 2010 and I had just come home to have lunch.  I flipped on the TV and there was Sander Levin, acting Chair of the US Ways and Means Committee after Charles Rangel had stepped aside during his entanglement with the House Ethics Committee. President Obama was in the process of signing the Affordable Health Care.  Obama had asked the Ways and Means Committee to once again to review the economics of the bill.  A reporter stuck his microphone into the face of Levin, “Have you considered universal healthcare?”  Without pause, Levin responded, “I don’t think that the US Economy could handle the loss of five million jobs.” He snapped around, in military fashion, and marched away.

The loss of jobs comment startled me.  What jobs was he referring to? That is when I started to research how health payments were made in the US.  Most Americans don’t have a clue about the economics of healthcare and I certainly didn’t.  It turns out that he was referring to health insurance jobs.  Here is Trump’s dilemma in trying to appeal Obamacare.  The loss of jobs versus providing a health plan for Americans that they can afford and that will not crash the economy. Consider that healthcare accounts for almost twenty percent of the US economy.

Nancy Pelosi’s comment about eighty-five percent of insurance payments going toward health treatment is just a big fat lie.  No insurance company or any other business for that matter could stay afloat if it had to pay out eighty-five percent of its income for external cost.  The real number for the percentage of payment for treatment and pharmaceutical cost is close to fifty-five according to a Yale social economist. In other words, for every dollar that you give to an insurance company, only fifty-five cents is paid to providers and pharmaceuticals.

The health insurance business then falls into the category of a protection racket. The mob comes into your place of business and asks for twenty percent of your sales so that you will not have any break-ins. Compare:  Give me twenty percent of your GDP and I’ll assure that you get health treatment.  All of this with the protection of the US Congress.  How many of you would like to have Congress tell your clients that they must buy your product?  How many of you would like to have a monopoly in a state for your product?  Only health insurance and Major League Baseball have monopolies.

Health insurance allows you to be “ill at ease.”

How did we get into this mess? It is a long and boring story of government treating its citizens like cows to be harvested for income.  Consider that a cow has its greatest value when it reaches its maximum weight.  Just like cows, we have our largest value to insurance companies when we reach end-of-life health cost at our maturity. Most people think that health cost is bad for insurance companies.  It is just the opposite.  The larger cost of healthcare means a larger amount of sales for insurance companies. I had the opportunity to play golf with a CEO of a large health insurance company.  I said to him, “I had about eighty thousand dollars in health insurance payments for treatment of my back pain over the last decade.  Does that mean you had about one hundred sixty thousand in sales to cover that cost?”  He replied in the affirmative. My research numbers were confirmed.

Manufacturing jobs build wealth.  Insurance jobs are not service jobs and do not build wealth.  It only takes away from the wellbeing of the population long term, just like other protection rackets.  Government has sent our manufacturing jobs elsewhere while replacing them with insurance jobs.  If we do go to universal healthcare quickly, we would plunge the economy into recession, if not economic depression. This is the present dilemma for Congress as they try to determine what to do with the failed Obamacare.  How would you replace five to eight million health insurance jobs (The number of health insurance jobs have grown under Obamacare which was the intention of the bill)?  Other economically similar countries all have universal healthcare that was started in the 1960s when Lyndon Johnson threw us into an economic storm with his “Great Society.”  Universal healthcare is why countries like Canada have healthcare cost that are almost half of what it is in the US—no health insurance jobs.

“Bernie Sanders, firmly for universal health coverage, goes into a bar at a large hotel that is filled with insurance agents there for a convention.  Hoping to create as many problems as possible he yells; insurance agents are all crooks.  If you have a problem, just come up here right now.  A man came up and stuck a finger in Sanders’ face and told him to take it back.  Sanders asked him if he was an insurance agent.  The man replied, no I’m a crook.”

I am firmly a capitalist, but there are some things that I don’t think the large invisible hand of Adam Smith should be allowed to control.  That is anything that does not build wealth or health.  Health insurance and other protection rackets fall into this category.  We have had our freedom of life and pursuit of happiness taken away from us for our Government’s version of security.  We have neither. Sustaining institutions at the cost of the individuals they serve is evil (M. Scott Peck, “People of the Lie”).  Maintenance and growth of a large market is necessary for continued business growth.  With health insurance, the sicker the population, the better for business.  Government has colluded with health insurance companies through campaign contributions to pass laws and manipulate agencies under HHS to assure this happens.  HHS’s moto is “Markets before Mandates.”  Just consider now that we know through science that there would be one thousand less deaths a day the US through the elimination of vitamin D deficiency. This is to say nothing about the significant reduction in chronic disease.  Government has not acted because a reduction in this significant portion of GDP would send us into recession.

There is a way out, but media outlets must start telling the truth. The reason that they do not is because advertising is how they maintain income.  If they embarrass their health sector advertisers, business would be bad.  Our free press is necessary for our version of government to work.  The first thing that should happen is to set term limits for congressmen. If congressman acted for the people they represent instead of maintaining institutions, a lot of the ethics and moral issues would be resolved.  As congressmen vote for the people, then news stories would have to explain why, regardless of what their advertisers thought.

A survey was just recently published that put US life expectancy (an indicator of health) at 34th.  This is a result of manipulating science and economic forces to sustain the US economy at the cost of the health of its citizens.  In addition, there is moral decay because of all the pain citizens are suffering.  If we pay twice as much for health as any other country, why do we not have the best health in the world?  Evil . . . —Pandemic Survivor

Nutrition First and Correct Medical Insurance!

“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial medical insurance complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.”  –Dwight D. Eisenhower

Spending on Security: US Military Spending 3.5% of GDP, US Health Insurance Spending 7.9% GDP (with approximately 11% of Americans still uninsured), Medical Providers and Pharmacy 9.6% GDP

There are thirty countries in the world that have a longer life expectancy than the US.  Most of these countries practice nutrition first.  Our food pyramid is upside down. Here and here.  Medical practice uses drugs and surgery as the first line of defense against disease.  This works very well for acute maladies, but for chronic disease, it is a terrible practice.  Symptoms of chronic disease are treated without the root cause being remedied.

How have we come to an understanding that is not science, but government policy?  “It’s the economy, stupid,” says James Carville.  This desire for a healthy economy has driven us to a population that is ill with chronic disease and obesity.  This is great for the medical economy and health insurance economy, but very bad for the health of the individual.  Government has made policies that support the economy and not the health of the individual.

Who is the primary driver at fault in this car wreck that is crushing our health and economy?  It is the medical insurance industry.  Now, that sounds like a jump, but this institution is wrecking us and government is going along so as not to crash the economy.  The medical economy has led us to a huge national debt and the insurance companies are the primary driver. Why the insurance companies?

In 1928 my mother and father were having their first child.  The doctor rushed to our home as is typical in a country environment; babies were birth at home.  There was no insurance.  My father paid the doctor directly for his services.  He gave the doctor two hams, a twenty-five-pound bag of flour, and twenty dollars.  This translates into about five hundred and forty dollars in today’s currency.  Now we pay the insurance companies and the insurance company pays the bill.  Of course, minus deductibles and co-pays which we still have to pay directly. We do have better healthcare for birthing with prenatal care, postpartum care, and neonatal care.  Adding up all the medical cost surrounding a new baby gives us a cost of about $8,800 today.

Medical Cost 2

My research has found that up to half of medical expenses are administrative fees.  Most of that belongs to the insurance companies. Best approximation is that of every dollar you give to the insurance companies only fifty-five cents comes back to medical providers and pharmacy.  Without the insurance companies’ involvement, the cost of a new baby should be about $5,000 or about ten times the cost of 1928. This is approximately what medical providers actually get. The rest of the money goes to insurance for “health security.” The operation of medical insurance agrees with most business’ theory, that a company has forty percent internal cost, forty percent external cost, and twenty percent gross margin.  After general, selling, and administrative, there is about a five to seven percent profit margin with the government getting as large portion that in taxes.

As with any company, the growth of market size is critical to the health of the company.  As the disease state of Americans goes up, the medical spending increases and the cost of insurance increases proportionately.  Now hospitals are struggling as insurance companies drive up the cost of insurance to employees and play games with reimbursements for managed care. As the prices of pharmaceuticals and managed care increase, so does the cost of insurance.  This never ending loop of increases is rushing us forward into economic doom where we will no longer be able to support our national debt.  Hospitals have merged so as to have better leverage on the insurance companies, and this has only led to less competition in the market place.  This is to say nothing of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which does not fully kick in until 2017.  Now we see many insurance companies already opting out of the ACA. It is not our fault scream the medical insurance companies.  In effect, it truly is the problem of government policy corruption. 

I remember well March 2010 when President Obama was in the process of signing the ACA.   I had gone home for lunch and flipped on the TV not knowing that it would cause me indigestion.  There on CSPAN was a reporter that stuck the microphone into the face of the new Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee.  Charles Rangel had just stepped down after being charged with corruption and Sander Levin was the acting chair.

“Has the committee consider single payer healthcare insurance?” the reporter asked.  There wasn’t even a pause.

“I don’t think the country could stand the loss of five million jobs in the present economy,” Levin responded.  He snapped around in a military square and marched off before any follow-up questions could be asked. This began my research into medical cost that arrived at the above conclusions. I quickly imagined the median salary for medical insurance employees at about $70.000/yr.   The annual loss of $350 billion dollars in jobs to the economy would be hard road to follow.  If you used the same method as was used in accounting for the ACA, that would be a ten-year loss of 3.5 trillion to the economy.  After all, the industrial segment of the economy had been decimated, the housing market was a disaster, and we had just bailed out the banks. We certainly would not want to damage the economy with a change in medical insurance.

Government policy in the healthcare market segment has driven us to disastrous results. Don’t get me wrong.  I am a capitalist and don’t believe in the government taking over general business. However, when you combine giving the medical insurance companies state monopolies, when government practices poor policy for food, when you guarantee increased market size with the ACA, and when the HHS practices markets before mandates (your health suffers so that the economy can be sustained), you end up with a large ill-health market that the general population cannot afford.   Now that the Supreme Court has declared penalties for not having insurance as a tax, it is not too great a leap to declare all medical insurance as a tax.  That would make our taxes-well-just stupidly high.

I now believe that the ACA was a mechanism to ward off the insurance companies lobby in the hopes that medical insurance would collapse into single payer like the rest of economically similar countries.  We currently have one of the highest tax rates in the world.  If we look at Canada where healthcare is taken from their taxes, why is our healthcare cost almost double that of Canada.  When you add in health insurance as a tax, it truly is an unappealing number with a tax rate that is about double the rest of the world.  Whatever happened to common sense?

And then there is the suffering of chronic disease that is extremely high in the US.  Consider heart disease in Japan and Greece that is five times less than the rest of the world.  You know our scientist are smart enough to figure out why (sulfur deficiency and vitamin D).  Japan, Greece, and Iceland all have very low heart disease rates believed to be from the abundance of sulfur in the soil as each sits on volcanic riffs.

Markets before mandates is killing us both physically and from an economic perspective.  If we don’t start practicing nutrition first and correct medical insurance, the US is doomed. What happened to the days when you paid the doctor directly with a couple of hams, a bag of flour, and a few bucks?  Bring on medical insurance that is national and not a state monopoly, and give the population medical bank accounts that pass through from generation to generation without taxes.  Expand Medicaid for the less fortunate as it already has under the ACA. Medicare should not be handled by a third party (more government corruption), the insurance companies.  Of most importance is to get the science right for chronic disease in the practice of medicine.  It might be a short term correction for the medical industry, but let the markets decide without government interference. Certainly I would not have suffered for three decades with pain from chronic disease. Decades of pain brought on by bad government policy and greedy insurers that require me to give up health freedom for security or else. Collectively, we have arrived at Ben Franklin and Dwight Eisenhower’s warnings.  –Pandemic Survivor

“Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.”  –Benjamin Franklin

Leading in Nutrients – The Affordable Care Act, Part II

What are the natural or innate characteristics of leaders?   The significant characteristic of leadership is the ability to paint a picture of truth that others can understand. When the picture is false it becomes a lie.   The lie is where great leaders have failed us over the years. Much propaganda delivered in health and nutrition now makes it difficult for anyone to find the truth.   This includes you and your doctor.

The ability to paint a picture in leadership that others can understand is a great gift. It is not a developed gift but a gift or quality that is innate in the leader. Research was used to determine the qualities of a leader. Only one quality of leadership could be found through all ages of test participants. The participants were asked to drink a glass of water with lemon juice added – no sugar. They were then asked to describe how great the lemon water was to drink.   This was started with participants at the age of five. The children were then asked to go play. As they played, the researchers noticed that the children who were able to describe the lemon water as tasty without grimace, became the leaders in play. This test was repeated with groups through middle age with the same result.   Participants who were able to describe the lemon water as great to drink became “natural” leaders.

This gift of painting a picture that others can easily understand is what makes a leader great. There have been many examples of leadership when both the lie and the truth were used effectively. However, when the gift was used as a lie, eventually failure of the led was the result. Compare/contrast the words of leadership during WWII between Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler.

Has this happened to us in health? The immediate example is the Affordable Care Act. A regular citizen, like yourself, has discovered some serious issues of lack of the truth. Richard Weinstein, MBA, Investment Advisor, found that Jonathan Gruber, the architect-advisor to the ACA, used less than truth to help the ACA pass legislation. Rich was frustrated for a year because he could not get the attention of the press. It was only after his findings became part of a legal challenge to the ACA that he found traction. Huffington Post Article: “This Philly-Based Investment Advisor Has Become Obamacare’s Digital Menace.” 11/11/2014

Rich was driven by the words that got the bill passed, “If you like your policy, you can keep your policy.” Last year, his health insurance policy was cancelled. The closest comparable policy was twice as much. He spent his nights researching the words of the architects of the ACA by reviewing videos that were available on the web. This past week, the Obama Administration was embarrassed by the videos and took immediate action. Obama declared that he wanted “Net Neutrality.” To me this sounds like double-speak as an effort to better control the internet. Glen Beck, on his morning radio show, called this declaration a “Trojan Horse” or subterfuge. A fear tactic was used this week with the words, “if you like Netflix, you can keep Netflix with net neutrality.”

Confusing and confounding findings are now included on a regular basis as a method to advance political advantages. Subterfuge is used in economics, in atmospheric science, and in evidence based medicine. The commonality is the complexity of finding truth. Findings by our elite scholars are being used to manipulate the people for the sole purpose of empire building.   Empire building is simply the maintenance and growth of any organization without concern for the stress on society as a whole.

We, as citizens with concern for the health of government and people, have to now take action. The internet is there for you to determine your own truth. However, be careful, the double-speak artists are paid well to paint beautiful pictures. We do need to follow the leadership of a plain citizen, Richard Weinstein. Have you had a health situation that could be healed with nutrients? It is up to you to talk about this with your friends and family and to help our ethical leaders understand what is happening to our society. – Pandemic Survivor

Health versus the Economy

Sunday MusingHave you ever wondered what a nation would look like that put the economy of the nation as more important than the well being of the individual? Or, wondered if the wealth of the ‘ruling class’ is more important than the health and well-being of everyone else?  What about a nation where one out of every five people gets their income from the illness of the population? This was the transition, “markets before mandates in health”, that America begins to make during the 1930’s at the height of the Great Depression. Now the healthcare segment of the economy is close to twenty percent of GDP.

It is difficult to imagine a community where one out of every five people gets their income from health. Think about a farming community of one hundred people. Now imagine that twenty of those people are medical workers, medical insurance workers, makers of drugs, and support people for this effort. This is what America has come to. In order to keep the medical workers busy, it means that there has to be a significant amount of illness. If the illness is maintain or increased, then the medical workers lively hoods are safe. But this very ill population has difficulty thriving in other sectors of the economy because there is no feeling of well-being. There is low energy and the illness means that the crops do not get harvested for food to feed the people.

These two things, health versus economy, held in juxtaposition of each other can only have two results. Like two waves coming together, they will either add together to get very large. This is the belief of our current leaders in government. Or, the energy will be neutralized as trough adds to ridge and flatness results. I believe this is closer to our present reality. The economy and health both fail.

Consider how the Department of Health and Human Services is operated. Here are the general principles on which decisions are made:

  1. National standards, neighborhood solutions.
  2. Collaboration, not polarization.
  3. Solutions transcend political boundaries.
  4. Markets before mandates.
  5. Protect privacy.
  6. Science for facts, process for priorities.
  7. Reward results, not programs.
  8. Change a heart, change a nation.
  9. Value life.

Please note that the first three are about politics and the fourth about the economy. There is polarization, political boundaries have been drawn with the passing of the Affordable Care Act, and national standards have prevented neighborhood solutions. And yes, markets have been sustained and increased as the greatest transfer of wealth ever from the Treasury to the pockets of medical insurers has been the result. But, have these actions actually created wealth in either the economy or health. Note that to value life or the general purpose of this large agency is last.

What if we picked a state that has done well economically and looked at its principles of operation in health care? Let’s pick Texas because it has created the largest number of jobs since 2008. Here is its number one principle for operating the Texas Health and Human Services Commission:

  • We place the concerns, interests, and well-being of our consumers and constituents at the center of our attention.

What is valued first in Texas is last at the national level. That is to value life and well-being. Texas economy is booming. Could there be a lesson here for national decision making. I am not going to take the time to look up the chronic disease rate in Texas, but being a southern state with higher UVB, I suspect it is less than the national average. I suspect it could be much better if Texas did not have to meet the requirements of the Federal laws. It is no wonder of the hint of Texas wanting to secede.

To paraphrase the words of M. Scott Peck in his book “People of the Lie”, an institution that does not have empathy for the ones it serves is evil. – Pandemic Survivor