This is the first in a series of columns on America’s human care system. With the Affordable Healthcare Act now the law of the land, it is time to understand six things: the who, what, where, when, why and how we got here.
In 1976, the great critic of 20th-century society, Ivan Illich, wrote: “Modern medicine is a negation of health. It isn’t organized to serve human health, but only itself, an institution. It makes more people sick than it heals.”
In 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower warned America about a growing government-industrial complex.
During his farewell speech Eisenhower warned, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” [Emphasis mine]
Since 1961 the military-industrial complex has been surpassed by the political power of the government/human care complex.
Eisenhower said, “The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present and is gravely to be regarded. Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific technological elite.” [Emphasis mine]
The human care “scientific technological elite” is now in the hands of the National Institute of Health (NIH). The NIH human care system, in some cases, is not about improving health. The NIH human care system may ultimately result in increased cases of pain, suffering and death.
Since passage of the Affordable Healthcare Act, there has been a battle raging over the control of human care. The battle is between the producers and consumers of human care — or as Illich and others have described it: sickness or illness care. There are a growing number of consumers being cared for by the Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid systems. Estimates are that ten thousand Americans daily are entering the federal human care system.
A growing number of doctors and think tanks are recognizing that the human care system is not designed to make people healthy; rather, it is designed to grow and be sustained by ever more illness care. This is accomplished via human care standards called “protocols.” The illness care providers are ultimately responsible for human care medical guidelines becoming protocols.
The human care system has become a government/industrial complex controlling over 17% of America’s GDP. In comparison, the military is less than 4% of GDP.
Patients believe human care providers are acting in their best interests.
However, like any other producer of products or services, the human care system is focused on keeping competition down, increasing scarcity of services with the objective of keeping costs and thereby profits high. The human care system is by definition a cartel. A cartel is defined as, “A combination of independent business organizations formed to regulate production, pricing, and marketing of goods by the members.”
Add to the “human care cartel” government at every level and you have a powerful force, which few are willing to confront.
Dr. Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, looked at the human care system in her landmark study, “Is US health really the best in the world?”, published in the July 2000 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Dr. Starfield came to the following conclusions:
Every year in the US there are:
- 12,000 deaths from unnecessary surgeries;
- 7,000 deaths from medication errors in hospitals;
- 20,000 deaths from other errors in hospitals;
- 80,000 deaths from infections acquired in hospitals;
- 106,000 deaths from FDA-approved correctly prescribed medicines.
- The total of medically-caused deaths in the US every year is 225,000.
According to Dr. Starfield, “This makes the medical system the third leading cause of death in the US, behind heart disease and cancer.”
In 2010 Dr. G.R. Greenwell, MD, FACSM, began examining the US human care system. According to Dr. Greenwell, “Chronic noncontagious illnesses such as diabetes, arteriosclerosis and hypertension have been continually increasing since the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) was established in 1976.”
“From 1976 to 1987 the number of diabetics in the United States increased by 25%. In 1995 the methodology for decreasing the incidence and severity of diabetes by more than 58% was demonstrated. Since that time the ODPHP has failed to require demonstrations and research projects to utilize that methodology in order to receive grants or funding. Consequently the percentage of people living in the USA suffering with diabetes has increased over 107% since 1995. The number of people in the United States with diabetes has increased 138% since 1995,” notes Dr. Greenwell.
Dr. Greenwell reports, “In 2006, approximately 65,700 non-traumatic lower-limb amputations were performed on people with diabetes. During the first 10 years of the War on Terror the total number of lower limb amputations of active-duty armed forces personnel was only 1,621.”
Dr. Greenwell points out, “The number of lower limb amputations due to diabetes and vascular disease during 2006 was 109,500. It’s been proven that if an optimum aerobic exercise program had been included in the treatment of these patients, approximately 80% of these amputations would have been precluded from becoming necessary (see page 8 of the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet).”
The human care cartel is more dangerous than any other cartel because taken to its ultimate end it can contribute to the pain, suffering and deaths of those to whom it purports to serve.
Part II will look at the who and what is behind America’s human care system.