Avoid Fire

The other night I attended a showing of Escape Fire, a documentary film about the crisis in the US healthcare system. It's very well done and I highly recommend it for everyone to see, although it triggered PTSD because I'm only a year removed from working in it.

The sad message of the film is that our healthcare system is the most expensive on earth and yet we have some of the poorest health outcomes when compared to the other industrialized countries. I addressed some of the reasons for that in the first chapter of my book, The Wellness Club: A Journey To Health Beyond Healthcare, which you can download for free at Smashwords.

While the film's diagnosis of what' wrong in healthcare - in a nutshell, it's controlled by profit driven insurance and pharmaceutical corporations, who in turn control the government - it's not real specific as to what can be done about it. I don't blame the film makers for not having magic answers because unfortunately there aren't any. Maybe if more people pay attention to how badly they're being ripped off, they'll get mobilized to do something about it. Don't hold your breath. Health is not a national priority.

In the last chapter of The Wellness Club, you'll find a discussion about some of the first signs of rebellion among the more enlightened doctors insisting that the system needs to be fixed. Perhaps that's the beginning of a massive change, but it will take a long time. In the film, Dr. Dean Ornish talked about how it took him 16 years to convince Medicare that his program to slow or reverse severe heart disease with a plant based diet, exercise and meditation should be eligible for reimbursement because evidence showed if was more effective and less costly than stents and other invasive procedures. Much of how money is distributed in medicine has nothing to do with science.

But the most important message in the last chapter is that people need to avoid the healthcare system as much as possible by not needing it in the first place. The film pointed out that 75% of the $2 trillion paid to the healthcare system goes to treat preventable diseases that could be avoided if people took more responsibility for their health by eating better foods, stressing less, and exercising more. It's that simple. No individual, family, or community needs to wait for a government program to get started with this.

Yep, if you're in the fire, by all means try to escape. But better yet, avoid it in the first place.

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