Thanks to Today's Chiropractic for permission to reproduce this article!
By J.C. Smith, MA, D.C.
Uncle Sam now proposes giving
senior Americans free prescription drugs. Years ago Uncle Sam wanted to put
a free chicken in every pot, and now he wants to give free medications as well.
It’s such a deal that some analysts predict it may win Bush another presidential
election. Analysts say that the still-booming “baby boom” generation—a
big market for politicians—will love this idea of another entitlement
program that costs them nothing by passing the costs onto the younger generation.
While this ploy may help
many cash-strapped seniors financially, it will definitely be a windfall for
the drug companies—as if they needed more profits. The drug industry last
year was the most profitable industry on Wall Street, with earnings of over
40 percent. Indeed, if you want to make a lot of money, invest in drugs, either
pushed or prescribed.
Considering the fact that
Americans are the most over-medicated society in the history of the world, or
the fact that the American Medical Asociation estimates 2.2 million adverse
drug reactions occur every year resulting in over 100,000 deaths, people are
nonetheless sold on “wonder” drugs as their quick-fix salvation
to serious health problems. I recall one article that mentioned the average
senior already takes 28 prescriptions. Maybe that explains why Grandma can’t
remember names so well—she’s stoned on drugs most of the time.
Although this ploy may save
them money, will it help them improve the quality of their lives? Do we really
want our senior citizens taking more drugs, as if they’re not already
drugged enough? Whether it’s Motrin, Ritalin or Prozac, Americans want
their drugs, and they are now forced to pay more for the same drugs than consumers
in any other country in the world.
This new “chicken
in every pot” proposal—or the “drugs in every medicine cabinet”
scheme—sounds just great to the many seniors, but it may actually be more
of an elusive dream than any real improvement in their healthcare. It seems
to me if they ate more chicken soup, exercised more and took fewer drugs they
might feel better and spend less on medications.
Beware Mutant Germs!
for the drug companies seems incredulous in light of drugs reactions that have
now been shown to be epidemic. Aside from the thousands of accidental deaths
caused by medications, medical experts believe the next plague will be caused
by the overuse of antibiotics creating “super germs.” It’s
a simple fact that stronger antibiotics create stronger resistant germs that
will soon come back to haunt us all. I can see a new made-for-TV movie titled,
“Mutant Germs,” brought to you by your favorite drug companies.
Instead of creatures from outer space, these new aliens will come from inside
your own bodies.
Vaccines are another sacred
cow in medicine that continue to be used regularly despite evidence showing
their side effects. Some detractors have posited that the measles, mumps and
rubella (MMR) vaccine is believed to have caused a five-fold increase in autism
in the UK and US; shots of the diptheria, pertussis whooping cough and tetanus
(DPT) vaccine have been directly linked to an increase in asthma and allergies
(autoimmune disorders); polio shots are solely responsible nowadays for all
cases of polio (the last wild polio case occurred in 1984); and flu shots for
seniors are now believed to be part of the Alzheimer problem, according to a
panel from Johns Hopkins that credited the increase to the presence of aluminum
and mercury in the shots.
The question over drugs
and vaccinations seem now to be a choice of choosing your own poison—either
the diseases they purport to prevent and/or cure, or serious side effects they
may cause. It seems to me I’d rather have the flu than Alzheimers, or
a cold than mutant germs, or the mumps rather than autism.
Obviously any drug therapy
is risky business, yet many people have no choice in these matters, especially
the children or military who are forced by law to get shots. Recently the military
court-martialed servicemen who refused vaccinations for anthrax. (And we thought
Saddam would have to drop a bomb to infect them!)
Just how far-reaching will
mandated vaccines become? Tell me: when an HIV vaccine is mandated, how many
of you will offer up your arms for the shots? What if the government demanded
it because you work in the healthcare field, in the military, or as a government
employee? It’s a scary thought, but it very well could happen!
If Uncle Sam wants to help
improve citizens’ well-being, will this program of free drugs and compulsory
vaccines eventually include natural methods too? Do you think Uncle Sam will
ever mandate vitamin C, Echinacea, garlic, omega-3 fish oils or any antioxidants
to enhance one’s immunity? Don’t hold your breath.
Since regular aerobic exercise
is known to stimulate one’s immune system, as well as helping other health
maladies such as obesity, cardio-vascular, digestive, lymphatic, mental and
musculo-skeletal problems, do you think Uncle Sam will also pay for jogging
shoes or health spa memberships? Daily exercise will do more to improve one’s
health than daily drugs.
Considering that the silent
epidemic of back pain is a $100 billion cost to our economy, the leading
reason for workers’ comp injuries and the fact that 90 percent of all
Americans will eventually suffer from a back attack, will Uncle Sam mandate
chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy since it’s been shown to be safer,
cheaper and more effective than surgery or drugs? Did you know that a lumbar
fusion may cost up to $169,000 with a 29 percent rate of failure in returning
workers back to work?
In other words, just where
does Uncle Sam begin and end his involvement in our healthcare? If he wants
to help by paying for drugs, why not include inexpensive ounces of prevention
and not just expensive “pounds of cure”-like medications?
Of course, that’s
not Uncle Sam’s intent. This free drug ploy is just a new carrot to entice
voters to bite when, in fact, it will do nothing to improve health and will
only lead to greater costs to taxpayers, more profit for the drug companies
and more adverse drug reactions for patients.
We’re Number 72nd!
If Uncle Sam wants to improve Americans’ overall healthcare, perhaps he
should begin by scrapping the presently expensive and ineffective American healthcare
delivery system. Consider a recent report from the World Health Organization
that showed America’s population health systems ranked 72nd in health
gains and 37th overall in the world in its healthcare delivery system at a cost
of over $1.2 trillion, the most expensive per capita. What does that tell us?
Obviously, Americans are not getting much bang for their buck if these rankings
are true, but the medical/drug cartel will be the last to mention it.
Think of it this way: If
American education ranked as low as 37th, I daresay the politicians and parents
would be demanding improvement immediately. Moreover, if American defense ranked
37th in the world, a call to arms would be heard around the country to improve
our military. Indeed, there would be massive outrage if America ranked 37th
in national defense.
But when our healthcare
system ranks that low internationally, nothing was said by anyone. Why? Is the
medical cartel above criticism, or do people believe it is the only act in town
so there are no practical options?
Think Out of the Medical Box!
a complete overhaul of a flawed medical delivery system, Uncle Sam simply wants
to push more drugs at no cost. Is this throwing fuel on the fire or what? Why
didn’t he raise the question that the medical approach of “drug
’em, cut ’em, then charge them a trillion” just hasn’t
worked to stem the onset of chronic degenerative diseases in which America leads
Rather than changing the
healthcare paradigm as “alternative” practitioners have suggested,
Uncle Sam seems content to throw good money after bad by giving the drug companies
this windfall. What’s wrong with this picture?
What Uncle Sam and the medical-pharmaceutical
cartel haven’t conceded yet is the simple fact that regaining one’s
lost health isn’t simply a function of taking more drugs and having more
surgeries. While that model is appropriate for some crisis care situations and
for people who have neglected their health all their lives, it does nothing
to maintain good health or the prevention of chronic illnesses. Drugging sick
people doesn’t make them well.
Instead of spending millions
more on drugs, perhaps Uncle Sam might propose a new paradigm in healthcare
that focuses on the ounces of prevention rather than the pounds of medical cures.
But that would be a silly notion because the medical-pharmaceutical-hospital
monopoly wouldn’t profit—in fact, they would experience a gross
reduction in revenues.
Considering heart and back
surgeries are the second- and third-leading surgical procedures done in hospitals
and huge moneymakers, if Uncle Sam were to implement chiropractic care, eliminate
tobacco and junk foods and mandate exercise and chelation therapy instead, the
medical doctors and hospital administrators would stand to lose an incredible
amount of money. None of these procedures are welcomed in most hospitals because
these natural methods are too cheap, and that would be bad for the medical economy.
(And we can’t have our MDs financially strapped, can we?) Eliminating
tobacco or junk foods also would put a big hurt on our economy, so rather than
removing these known causes of bad health, Uncle Sam figures the solution is
to just give free drugs instead.
The problem is that if this
scenario weren’t so serious, it would be laughable.
So while Uncle Sam paying
for drugs may appear to be a sugar daddy for Grandma, he’s actually adding
to her problem of declining health. Again, the answer to better health isn’t
taking more drugs or having more surgeries. The answer is learning to live a
healthy lifestyle comprised of natural remedies, to live with a healthier lifestyle,
and to pursue known preventative measures.
But this fallacious ploy
of free drugs just may win another election for federal lawmakers, and make
Grandma one happy little lady. And we certainly don’t want her to be cranky,
so give her the Prozac and be thankful it’s free.
JC Smith, D.C., is a Life University graduate and has spoken at the National
College of Chiropractic Homecoming. He operates a 4,200-square-foot “mixer”
and rehabilitation clinic in Warner Robins, Ga. He can be reached via his website,
or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.