Thoughts on Real Health Care Reform

doctors.jpgWhether the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) will actually make a difference in the nation's health is yet to be seen. Right now, according to a United Nations poll, Americans rank 47th in actual health. Think about that... there are 3rd World countries that enjoy better health than we do. Will federal government involvement and insuring more people really make us healthier? Will our healthcare system improve under this law or worsen?

Many of the people I see have been to medical doctors about their conditions. They are tired of not being heard, taking drugs that cover up problems, and being offered surgical procedures they deem unacceptable. More and more I see people who are tired of the medical model of diagnosing a condition and treating it with drugs.  Does naming a disease make you any healthier? Once your condition is pigeonholed there are certain protocols a medical doctor must follow according to guidelines set up by the AMA. If a medical doctor does not chose a recognized protocol, he or she may be charged with malpractice and could even lose their license to practice medicine.

People ask me why their medical doctor doesn't recommend natural supplements that are known to support health. The answer is that they simply don't want to take the chance of veering off of established protocol. Would you want to jeopardize your career?

This past week a few of us met with a state representative on a very important issue. A certain group of Naturopathic Doctors wants licensure. They want to exclude traditionally trained NDs in their licensure. I'm a traditionally trained Naturopathic Doctor. I don't want to be licensed. The reasons this group gives is that, it will make Naturopathic more available to people. Actually what it will do is make it so your insurance pays for visits. Some may say that is a good thing.

If I have to hire someone to process insurance claims and fight with insurance companies in order to get paid; if I have to purchase malpractice insurance and comply with HIPAA regulations, does this give anyone better service? And yet, because of rising costs, I have to charge more. Not all insurance companies are going to pay. I know this because I see it regularly with Chiropractic coverage.  Insurance companies hold back payment because when they pay, they lose money. If they can hold back, they can earn interest on that money. Our staff spends hours on the phone trying to get insurance companies to pay. Does this help you get better service? Does this have anything to do with you getting better?

It is unlawful to charge a fee for those without insurance and those with insurance. A fee for a consultation must be the same whether a person has insurance that covers it or not. It's the law! Some people think they should pay less if they don't have insurance to cover a particular treatment, but the insurance companies have made it illegal to do so—and they can even cause the doctor to lose his or her medical license.

Getting back to the group of NDs that want licensure. They are called, Michigan Association of Naturopathic Physicians (MANP) <> . On their website they are depicted in white coats and in some pictures with stethoscopes. They are medical doctor “wannabees”.  They diagnose and treat, not with drugs but with herbal medicines or nutraceuticals and compounded medicines. This is not what naturopathy was originally intended to be. It is the medical model on a different scale.

Naturopathy is the true “do no harm” medicine. It is all about looking at the body's symptoms as clues to what the body is trying to tell you. It is all about bringing the body back into harmony and balance. It is working with the body and not covering up symptoms. Symptoms are your body's way of saying something is wrong—fix it. You may be eating the wrong foods, not drinking enough water, not taking time to relax or exercise; you may not be dealing with stress effectively because you are nutrient deficient! Your environment is toxic and your body is overloaded because you don't eliminate those toxins on a regular basis. This is what naturopathy is all about! It's about helping you listen to your body and then taking appropriate action to regain balance.

Once you address why those symptoms are there, the symptoms go away on their own. If the light on the dashboard of your car comes on and tells you you're low on gas, do you disconnect the light or go and get gas? It isn't rocket science. The difference is we are trained to know what that signal indicates. We aren't as well trained in knowing what our body's signals indicate. That is why I insist on educating my clients through classes and webinars on how to identify the underlying causes of their symptoms.Eclectic 1.jpg

Don't misunderstand, there is definitely a place for medical doctors and that is emergency care. Don't come to me if you've broken your arm. But right after it has been set and a cast is put on it—I can help! There are herbal supplements that facilitate the healing process. There is also energy work that helps with circulation. There are essential oils that can help with healing. It doesn't take a license to teach about these health procedures. I personally feel that every family should have a “go to person”. I happen to be the person in my family who knows about herbal medicine and natural health, but I have trained hundreds of people to be the “go to person”.

In my office I have seen many people who have been through so much testing and so many procedures to try and get healthy. I've seen many people taking handfuls of drugs, trying to get healthy. This model isn't working! We need reform. What we need is a paradigm shift in how we think about health. If we are serious about health, we have to take responsibility for our own health. We can no longer damage our health and bring our broken body to the doctor and say, “fix it”. We must understand that our attitudes, what we eat, how we perform and everything we do has an impact on our state of well-being.

Eclectic 5.jpgThe sooner people learn that eating sugar and white flour on a daily basis is contributing to inflammation and degenerative diseases, we will be a healthier nation. As soon as we start looking at what we are doing individually to jeopardize health and take action to correct it, we all will be healthier. Do you know some action steps you can take that will help you obtain better health? Focus on health by taking regular classes that support these ideas. Reform your ideas by making a paradigm shift from focusing on disease to focusing on health.