INTRODUCTION


     The healthcare system is reducing how long you live. It is soaking up your income. Almost all the current healthcare reform bills being considered by the American Congress badly miss the mark because they misdiagnose the core problems within the healthcare system. This book will empower the individual to protect themselves from the healthcare system both physically and financially as well as optimize their own health and healing. We will present evidence that will prove that modern medicine is remarkably ineffective at producing the best health outcomes possible. We will emphasize the American healthcare system as the best example of modern medicine's failures, but the key ideas in this book will help any healthcare system or individual throughout the world to optimize their health and healing.

     Please do not think that the primary American healthcare problem is one of insurance coverage. It is currently the spring of 2010 and the American healthcare reform debate is focused on the battle between coverage for all versus who is going to pay for this extra coverage. There is also fear of a government takeover of healthcare. These concerns completely miss the most important elements of a comprehensive healthcare reform discussion! The issues of coverage and who pays should be dwarfed by the question, "How do we produce the most effective healthcare systems in the world?" Only a comprehensive debate will produce an effective set of solutions for a healthcare system that is much more ineffective than you may realize.

     Ironically, if we held the American healthcare system accountable for cost and health outcomes performance, we could eliminate the national embarrassment of 50 million uninsured citizens, not worry about spending more to pay for this coverage, improve our average life expectancy, and still put more money back in people's pockets.


Dad's Tragedy


     Imagine that your Dad developed chest pain, went to the cardiologist, and ended up getting a bypass surgery to fix a heart blockage. He undergoes the procedure and you hear that he made it through the surgery. You visit him a week later. At first glance, you're relieved; it appears that he did quite well. He's breathing without oxygen support and he requires no medication to support his heart. He appears to be doing so well that he's getting ready to leave the ICU. Suddenly you feel nauseated as your greeting of Dad is met with a blank stare. He doesn't recognize you. Something happened to Dad. Dad had surgery to fix his heart but in the process he suffered a stroke.

     Was it even worth it to have the surgery? What's the use of living longer if you've lost who you are? Is this not a kind of death? Then you start reading (you're quite inquisitive) and get the sense that coronary (heart) procedures, amazingly, do not extend one's length of life overall! Why bother? The cardiology and cardiac surgery communities state that their procedures reduce patients' chest pain and improve their activity tolerance. In the meantime, you read that medication therapy for coronary artery disease is just as good as more aggressive interventions including surgery. Why didn't the medical community realize the side effects of the aggressive medical procedures as well as utilize less dangerous but equally effective heart disease treatments? Why has the medical community used aggressive coronary artery procedures for 30 years and created thousands of tragedies like your father's?

     It gets worse. Not only is there no extension of life from most of the heart blockage procedures, but, as you've sadly experienced, there is a significant incidence of neurologic injury including loss of memory, confusion, and even stroke. These all lead to a significant deterioration in the patient's and their family's quality of life. It took the healthcare system 20 years after starting to use these procedures to realize that these major side effects were occurring. Sadly, the medical community could have detected these problems much sooner if it was held accountable for the best health outcomes possible.

     There's even more! The medical community also began to realize some twenty years ago that certain lifestyle changes such as exercise; a stricter diet including more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains; and group therapy could reduce chest pain and improve activity tolerance. Rather than suggesting lifestyle modification as THE intervention for coronary artery disease, the medical community has simply continued performing hundreds of thousands of very aggressive cardiac interventions such as bypass surgery, balloon procedures, and heart artery stents at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars.

     Well, tragedy on top of tragedy, Dad develops a terrible infection in his chest wall at the site of the surgery. The infection requires multiple additional surgeries to get things cleaned up but, unfortunately, your father eventually dies when the infection takes hold of his whole body. Given what you have learned you are both heartbroken and furious.

     Believe it or not, this story is an accurate reflection of the current manner in which modern, and especially American, medicine currently function. Most Americans and the American healthcare system have been operating with the attitude "Do everything possible for my loved one, Doc", without completely understanding the true risks and benefits of "doing everything". There are multiple problems with saying "Do everything". Understanding these problems will change your attitude about modern, and especially American, medicine.


Boosting Your HQ, the Three root Causes of Ineffective Healthcare Systems


     The healthcare system is reducing your life expectancy in three primary ways or what we will refer to as the Three Root Causes of an ineffective healthcare system. Understanding these Three Root Causes will boost your Healthcare Quotient or HQ. Similar to your intelligence quotient or IQ, which represents your general ability to solve problems, your HQ will represent knowledge or wisdom in making the best choices for your own health rather than simply accepting what the medical community suggests.

     As your HQ rises throughout this book, you will become more confident and assertive in your own healthcare decision making. You will become an equal partner with your healthcare providers and the healthcare system as a whole. As a result of a rising HQ, you will become healthier and wealthier. You will literally increase your life expectancy, your quality of life, and the amount of money in your pocket!

     The Three Root Causes of an ineffective healthcare system specifically include:
  1. Modern medicine is unintelligent. Modern medicine is surprisingly unscientific in its healthcare decision making. The result is that the healthcare system wastes resources at a remarkable rate resulting in higher taxes and relatively stagnant incomes. Modern medicine also worsens your health by using technology that is more harmful than good, as well as by not having the resources to apply innovative approaches to health and healing. Chapters 1, 2, and 3 explain Root Cause #1. Understanding Root Cause #1 will especially boost your HQ by teaching you healthcare scientific thinking. With this scientific thinking HQ boost, you will force healthcare decision making to be much more intelligent. A smarter approach to medical technology will make you healthier and wealthier.


  2. Modern medicine is overrated. Modern medicine tends to focus on care that uses medical technology but it turns out that lifestyle and especially life effectiveness are far more powerful predictors of health and healing than most people realize. We call these scientifically confirmed forces "Life Ecology Factors". The combination of false hope for medical technology's impact on health outcomes and ignorance of Life Ecology Factors means the healthcare system is misguided in producing the best health outcomes possible. Modern and American medicine are not the main reason you are living longer, by far! Understanding and applying the Life Ecology Factors concept to your own life will provide you a second HQ boost. This HQ boost has an even greater likelihood of improving the quality and length of your life!


  3. Modern medicine is dangerous. American medicine, in particular, has become so complex that it injures and kills patients at a remarkable rate. Stunningly, the American healthcare system has become one of the top killers of people alongside heart disease and cancer! This section will also boost your HQ by causing you to be much more vigilant when engaging the healthcare system for necessary care.


     In summary, modern medicine is doing too much of what they shouldn't do and not doing enough of what they should do. That's a lethal combination!

     With an understanding of the Three Root Causes for American and modern medicine's ineffectiveness in hand, you can be much more motivated, creative and effective in constructing your own health program. The result will be better health including less disease; a longer, higher quality life; AND more money in your pocket. This book will take you through a fascinating journey of science and personal discovery and provide you with the key HQ tools to protect yourself both physically and financially.


The Current State of Affairs


     Earlier we made the statement that current healthcare reform bills being considered by Congress "badly miss the mark." That may seem like an exaggeration but that's how thoroughly society is misunderstanding the problems within the American healthcare system and the problems with modern medicine in general. It is ironic that we are misdiagnosing the problems within healthcare systems just as they misdiagnose the best ways to heal you. Meanwhile, the real disease within the healthcare system, and even you, festers.

     It's politics as usual in Washington as they continue to lack the political willpower for meaningful reform as suggested in this and other books/proposals. The focus, instead, is on delivering more coverage and spreading out the costs. Reform debate must produce a healthcare system that performs much better. The Democrats focus on covering more people and the Republicans would rather keep government uninvolved but there is little in the current Congressional movement to truly force the system to work better.

     Societies will continue to be haunted by an ineffective healthcare system without an understanding of the real problems and necessary reforms. The goal of this book is to educate you to be so skeptical of the healthcare system that you will be compelled to launch personal and societal healthcare revolutions. This book will provide any person with the tools to powerfully participate in the healthcare reform debate AND take action right now to better their own healthcare program.

     This book may make physicians seem incompetent. The reality is that most physicians are truly intelligent and caring. They simply do not have the tools or a system to deliver the best patient care possible. Societies must now work themselves out of their modern medical messes. Healthcare systems are deep in to their dysfunctions. We need to stop tinkering at the margins and get to the heart of the problem.

     Much of this book may overwhelm and anger you, but we are confident that together we can produce the best healthcare systems in the world due to our plentiful resources and ingenuity. The healthcare systems and patients just need the correct accountability and incentives to start moving in the right direction.


Why Another Healthcare Book?


     The vast majority of healthcare reform books and proposals do not get to the real problems inside healthcare systems. Most books are focused on the symptoms of the problem, not the cause. Over the past few years several excellent books have addressed the litany of problems within the American healthcare system, but these issues are merely the symptoms of the chronic disease afflicting our healthcare system. It's certainly important to be aware of the symptoms so that we can convince ourselves to tackle the underlying problem, but we have to ultimately cure the disease itself.

     Imagine you started developing general symptoms such as fatigue and pain. The medical system responded by providing you with medications that boost your energy and take away your pain. Unfortunately, the cause of the fatigue and pain was ignored. Things are fine for a while, but then the symptoms return more strongly and it now appears that you had cancer that has advanced further. Now the symptoms cannot be completely suppressed unless the underlying problem of the cancer is treated.

     So, what is the "cancer" within the healthcare system and what are the resulting symptoms? The symptoms of the diseased healthcare system include high costs, too many uninsured people, too much paper work and wasted time, and too many errors. The underlying disease or cancer within the system is a combination of poor science, incomplete healthcare programs, inefficiency, and system complexity. The result is a system that wastes your resources and worsens your health, literally either killing you directly and/or allowing you to die prematurely.

     In contrast to other books, we will take our analysis of the healthcare system disease a step further by describing the Three Root Causes of the disease. Only with an understanding of the fundamental causes of the problem can we treat the disease and prevent it from returning.

     The most vital, inspiring ideas about health, healing, and healthcare system reform have not yet been distilled down in one place for the typical consumer. With only three key concepts you can transform your approach to your own healthcare as well as force the healthcare system to perform better. You can help to launch personal and societal healthcare revolutions.


Why Haven't We launched a revolution in Healthcare, especially within American Healthcare?


     With the healthcare system being in such a mess, we started asking ourselves, "Why would people put up with this situation?" Here are the conclusions we have come to:
  • People feel we are living longer primarily because of modern and American medicine.

  • People feel Americans have the best healthcare system in the world.

  • People in the United States are grateful they do not have to wait in line for a surgery like they do in Canada.

  • People would much rather have a free market healthcare system versus a government run system as in England.

  • People believe the American healthcare system provides more access to healthcare technology and that this is a good thing.


     You will be amazed to find that all these assumptions are wrong! We are not calling for a single payer or nationalized healthcare system within the United States, but we do want Americans to stop making excuses for a system that is failing them. Once you learn the critical health and healing facts including the Three Root Causes of poor healthcare system performance, you should be ready to take control of your healthcare destiny and benefit from:
  • A better understanding of the how and why of your healthcare choices

  • Better choice of healthcare providers

  • Better service

  • A better quality of life

  • More money in your pocket


     Sound too good to be true? This is much easier to achieve than you realize. You just need some key knowledge and thinking tools and you will be armed with the confidence to take control.


What This Book Will Teach You and What Actions You Can Take as a result


     Let's talk about the goals of this book and what specific actions you can take. It doesn't matter what your life situation is, whether you are insured or uninsured, wealthy or not, educated or not, you WILL get something useful out of this book.We will be providing you with the tools to understand the health care reform debate as well as the keys to increasing the length and quality of your life. You will experience an HQ boost with each of the following concepts or tools as detailed in this book:
  • Healthcare scientific thinking

  • The difference between technological advancement and scientific advancement

  • The neglected power of self healing and the framework called Life Ecology Factors

  • The systems effect compared to the individuals that make up the system

  • The parallels between the healthcare and financial system failures

  • The power of a functional free market

  • The perfect storm of lost checks and balances that allowed the healthcare mess to develop

  • The components of a comprehensive healthcare reform


The above concepts/tools will motivate you to:
  • Restructure your healthcare plan to produce better and more satisfying healthcare results including a longer and better quality of life as well as more money in your pocket.

  • Compel your legislator toward much more bold and complete healthcare reform legislation which will force better healthcare system performance, also resulting in greater health and wealth for you.




Let's launch a Constructive Healthcare revolution


     Despite the disheartening or even maddening information in this book, we are optimistic about the healthcare results that we can achieve once we set our minds to it. We should not blame anybody for our healthcare mess. We are all responsible for either contributing to the mess or allowing it. Now we need to co-create our way out of it. This book is not a cynical approach, nor is it antagonistic. This is ultimately a very hopeful and proactive approach to fixing our healthcare systems as well as our personal health and healing program.

     As you work your way though the evidence in the following chapters, you will start to understand the Three Root Causes of ineffectiveness within healthcare systems. You will also be able to explain how the American healthcare system could be the worst in the world! You say, "Wait a minute, modern medicine is unintelligent, overrated, harmful AND Americans have the most ineffective healthcare system in the world?" Does that seem hard to believe?

     Well, think about Dad's story and ponder the following facts. Americans have the most expensive healthcare system in the world, costing over $8,000 per person per year. This figure is two to three times more than any other developed nation and yet, Americans on average do not have any superior health outcomes to show for this expense relative to other nations! In fact, the United States has the worst life expectancy and infant mortality of any of the thirty richest nations. Its performance as a healthcare system in general is towards the bottom of the wealthiest nations (Fig. 3.1). It is also a myth that Americans have better access to healthcare, as we will fully describe in Chapter 3.

     How is it possible that Americans spend so much and have so little to show for it? There are basically three reasons for this that we will describe in the next five chapters. Get ready for an eye-opening tour of modern healthcare decision-making and the real science of health and healing!



©2017 Life Ecology Org, LLC. ~ All material is the property of the Life Ecology Org, LLC. and may only be used with permission.