Posts Tagged ‘health care’

Republican calls for patient-centered wellness

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

By Rep. Thaddeus G. McCotter (R-Mich.)

Washington, DC — Throughout the health care debate, the majority of Americans have expressed their opposition and frustration with the president and his Democratic Congress’ radical proposals. The public is opposed to the scheme’s practical harm; frustrated by the Democrats’ arrogant refusal to listen; and justified in its concern that willful Washington politicians will impose these unhelpful proposals despite the American people’s objections.

This is not how the sovereign citizens’ servant government is supposed to enact laws in our free republic. Especially when there is a far more sensible, affordable and contemporary path: patient-centered wellness for our people powered world.

Emulating the failure of their trillion dollar stimulus bill’s “wealth redistribution” that they assured Americans would stop unemployment from rising over 8.5%, the Democrats’ radical, nearly trillion dollar “health redistribution” will not work. For months, the case has been made and the public has concurred: government-run medicine’s cost, higher taxes, surcharges on employer provided benefits, Medicare cuts, rationing boards (such as the stimulus bill’s already appointed Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research) and personal mandates, will only increase the costs, decrease the quality and reduce the choices of Americans’ health care. Given such overwhelming and intense public opposition, why do the Democrats insist on imposing this scheme on the American people?

Ideologically, the Democrats are bent on governmentally reducing the supply of health care to “control” costs. This is patently absurd. According to the time-tested law of supply and demand, if the government reduces the supply of health care while the demand for it increases from demographic pressures and medical advances, the costs will spiral upward; and the government will increasingly intrude into your personal decisions and savings.

Believing their complete control of Washington provides a “once in a generational chance” to pass their radical health care scheme, Democrats bull ahead regardless of Americans’ opposition. Cynically, the Democrats feel the law, once passed, will prove immune to repeal. Accordingly, affronted Americans understand the Democrats’ health redistribution scheme is a threat to their wellness, prosperity and liberty.

Consequently, Americans have tirelessly sought to be heard and heeded by the president and his Congress. The response has been worse than silence. Confronted with public dissent, the administration and Democrats have sought to silence opposition by establishing a taxpayer-funded White House cyber “snitch site”; attacks on the messengers of unwelcome facts and statistics; smears against citizens peaceably assembling to petition this government for the redress of grievances; demonizing and investigating private sector entities; and assaults against a cable television network (and, thereby, the First Amendment). No wonder the American people’s disapproval of the president, his Democratic Congress and their health redistribution scheme is plummeting.

We live in a people-powered world, one which is finally catching up to America’s revolutionary experiment in human freedom and self-government. Therefore, in opposing the Democrats’ fossilized model of government-run health care that usurps self-government, the public and Republicans embrace the communications revolution and a globalized marketplace that disdains and decentralizes massive, bureaucratic entities and empowers people as citizens and consumers. Consequently, we understand health care reform must match – not resist – these economic and communications advances by decentralizing government to provide the sensible, affordable reforms that foster patient-centered wellness, which empowers American citizens to be consumers of health care through transparency and free market forces.

The heart of patient-centered wellness for our people-powered world is prudent, targeted, multi-track reforms that reduces costs by leveraging the communications revolution and market forces to increase the supply of health care amid rising demand. Immediate, obvious measures include reforming medical liability laws; ending exclusions for pre-existing conditions; expanding health savings accounts; providing tax credits for purchasing private health insurance; allowing association health plans; permitting health insurance purchases across state lines; encouraging individuals to insure against changes in health status; incentivizing preventative health care; and applying information technology to enhance transparency and increase efficiencies. All this can be achieved without trillions in new spending, taxes and government-dictated, radical changes to Americans’ current health care.

For the less fortunate and most vulnerable amongst us, there must be an expansion of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), which will provide patients with preventive and routine treatment; and end underserved people’s use of emergency rooms for primary health-care treatments. Doctors and other health care professionals can be incentivized to provide their services at these clinics for either immediate or future considerations; and a “Patient Navigator” program attached to each FQHC can assist the underserved in accessing the health care system. This approach will build true, community-based health care and increase the power of economically disadvantaged patients to control their own health care. Finally, people suffering from “orphan diseases” – rare afflictions requiring a lifetime of special care – should be compassionately assisted through our nation’s social safety net.

Unfortunately, trapped in the past of a big government ideology and purblind to the people-empowering wonders of our globalized world, the president and his Democratic majority cavalierly dismiss such sensible, affordable approaches and determinedly toil behind closed doors to impose their radical health redistribution scheme on unwilling Americans. If they prevail, their health redistribution will impel higher costs, lower quality, fewer choices and – yes – lost jobs during this painful recession. There is a better way – patient-centered wellness for our people powered world.

Staying Healthy during Flu Season

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

NOV 4 Conshohocken: Dr. Linda Baker, Holistic Pediatrician
(Staying Healthy during Flu Season)

Please join us in Conshohocken for a timely seminar:
How to Keep Your Family Healthy During Flu Season

A free health education series

How Strong Is YOUR Immune System?

-Staying healthy during Flu Season –
presented by
Linda Baker, MD
Homeopathic Pediatrician

Founder of Wellspring Center in Plymouth Meeting, a holistic health practice, Dr. Baker treats and provides health education programs for adult patients and children who want to use natural ways to optimize their health. She devotes a significant part of her practice to children with developmental disorders and chronic health conditions. In addition to using herbs and homeopathy, Dr. Baker places great emphasis on nutrition. In her words: “Sound nutrition is necessary for healing and for disease PREVENTION”.

Due to hectic lifestyles, poor food choices, STRESS and over reliance on meds, our families are being diagnosed, more than ever, with immune dysfunction, e.g., Influenza. Other preventable diseases, like obesity and diabetes, are reaching epidemic proportions. We can reverse the trend. Join us for this insightful program.

Wed., November 4th – 7 p.m.
(Doors open at 6:30 PM)

Spring Mill Corporate Center Auditorium
1100 E. Hector St., Conshohocken, PA 19428

Safe, convenient parking directly in front of
entrance at 1100 E. Hector St.

For information and/or complimentary tickets please contact:
Mercedes at 215-681-5369 or
RSVP no later than Monday November 2.
Seating is limited to 50.

Wellspring Homeopathic Care Events

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Wellspring Homeopathic Care – Linda Baker, MD
Wellspring Homeopathic Care Class Series

Introduction to Homeopathy

Homeopathic medicines can be amazingly effective for common injuries and illnesses such as bruises, sprains, burns, fevers, earaches & coughs.

With a little background knowledge it’s easy to begin using these safe, effective & inexpensive treatments. The intro to Homeopathy class will give you a foundation for homeopathic thinking & decision making. Subsequent classes will focus on specific topics.

Thursday, November 5
7:00 to 8:30 PM
Friday, November 13
9:00-10:30 AM

Dr. Baker will be teaching and sharing her knowledge on natural prevention, nutrition, wellness, and tips on keeping your family healthy and thriving. The fee for each class is $20.00. Advance registration is required as space is limited. Call 610-567-3520 or E-mail to register.

All classes will be held at our office:
Wellspring Homeopathic Care
3138 Butler Pike
Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania 19462

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

Tuesday, August 11th, 2009

Eight things we can do to improve health care without adding to the deficit.


“The problem with socialism is that eventually you run out
of other people’s money.”

—Margaret Thatcher

With a projected $1.8 trillion deficit for 2009, several trillions more in deficits projected over the next decade, and with both Medicare and Social Security entitlement spending about to ratchet up several notches over the next 15 years as Baby Boomers become eligible for both, we are rapidly running out of other people’s money. These deficits are simply not sustainable. They are either going to result in unprecedented new taxes and inflation, or they will bankrupt us.

While we clearly need health-care reform, the last thing our country needs is a massive new health-care entitlement that will create hundreds of billions of dollars of new unfunded deficits and move us much closer to a government takeover of our health-care system. Instead, we should be trying to achieve reforms by moving in the opposite direction—toward less government control and more individual empowerment. Here are eight reforms that would greatly lower the cost of health care for everyone:

• Remove the legal obstacles that slow the creation of high-deductible health insurance plans and health savings accounts (HSAs). The combination of high-deductible health insurance and HSAs is one solution that could solve many of our health-care problems. For example, Whole Foods Market pays 100% of the premiums for all our team members who work 30 hours or more per week (about 89% of all team members) for our high-deductible health-insurance plan. We also provide up to $1,800 per year in additional health-care dollars through deposits into employees’ Personal Wellness Accounts to spend as they choose on their own health and wellness.

Money not spent in one year rolls over to the next and grows over time. Our team members therefore spend their own health-care dollars until the annual deductible is covered (about $2,500) and the insurance plan kicks in. This creates incentives to spend the first $2,500 more carefully. Our plan’s costs are much lower than typical health insurance, while providing a very high degree of worker satisfaction.

• Equalize the tax laws so that employer-provided health insurance and individually owned health insurance have the same tax benefits. Now employer health insurance benefits are fully tax deductible, but individual health insurance is not. This is unfair.

• Repeal all state laws which prevent insurance companies from competing across state lines. We should all have the legal right to purchase health insurance from any insurance company in any state and we should be able use that insurance wherever we live. Health insurance should be portable.

• Repeal government mandates regarding what insurance companies must cover. These mandates have increased the cost of health insurance by billions of dollars. What is insured and what is not insured should be determined by individual customer preferences and not through special-interest lobbying.

• Enact tort reform to end the ruinous lawsuits that force doctors to pay insurance costs of hundreds of thousands of dollars per year. These costs are passed back to us through much higher prices for health care.

• Make costs transparent so that consumers understand what health-care treatments cost. How many people know the total cost of their last doctor’s visit and how that total breaks down? What other goods or services do we buy without knowing how much they will cost us?

• Enact Medicare reform. We need to face up to the actuarial fact that Medicare is heading towards bankruptcy and enact reforms that create greater patient empowerment, choice and responsibility.

• Finally, revise tax forms to make it easier for individuals to make a voluntary, tax-deductible donation to help the millions of people who have no insurance and aren’t covered by Medicare, Medicaid or the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.

Many promoters of health-care reform believe that people have an intrinsic ethical right to health care—to equal access to doctors, medicines and hospitals. While all of us empathize with those who are sick, how can we say that all people have more of an intrinsic right to health care than they have to food or shelter?

Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That’s because there isn’t any. This “right” has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor’s Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an “intrinsic right to health care”? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.

Health-care reform is very important. Whatever reforms are enacted it is essential that they be financially responsible, and that we have the freedom to choose doctors and the health-care services that best suit our own unique set of lifestyle choices. We are all responsible for our own lives and our own health. We should take that responsibility very seriously and use our freedom to make wise lifestyle choices that will protect our health. Doing so will enrich our lives and will help create a vibrant and sustainable American society.

Mr. Mackey is co-founder and CEO of Whole Foods Market Inc.