Managed Care v. Single Payer and HMO's v. Private Physicians may sound like a debate about health care reform, but is it? Or, is it really just a conversation about which bandage to put on the cancer known as the American health care system? Is Congress merely trying to cure the symptom (rising costs), while literally ignoring the diseases causing the problem?
Beef and dairy products have come under increasing scrutiny as contributing factors in many medical disorders, especially arteriosclerosis and heart attacks. Yet, our federal government continues to pay subsidies to dairy farmers and lease grazing land at below market rates to cattle ranchers.
Tobacco ranks as one of the deadliest threats to our society, killing more people annually than cocaine, alcohol, heroin, fire, suicide, homicide, AIDS and auto accidents combined. Yet, our federal government continues to pay subsidies to tobacco farmers.
"But," you say, "the FDA could outlaw tobacco." And why not? They have already moved to outlaw any number of known and proven folk and herbal remedies. How could forcing people to rely on prescription drugs possibly lower the cost of pharmaceuticals?
Among the folk remedies banned by the FDA, one in particular stands out -- cannabis (also known as hemp or marijuana). This plant has over 200 known medical uses with almost no counterindications. (While some would advise against use in early pregnancy, others would prescribe it for morning sickness.) Studies have shown that allowing people to use marijuana also lowers the level of violent crime, another factor in rising health care costs. Even the American Medical Association recognizes the medicinal value of cannabis.
Speaking of the AMA, if Congress really wants to cut medical costs, why not remove the AMA's monopoly on health care? Other advanced countries allow not just chiropractic and acupuncture, but also homeopathic and naturopathic medicine, and cover it under their health plans. A white, male allopathic (i.e. AMA) doctor has a life expectancy much shorter than either a white, male homeopath or a white, male naturopath.
Maybe our government should stop paying for things which harm us, and stop limiting our access to things which could help us. As long as the government continues to subsidize tobacco and outlaw cannabis, how can they expect us to take any talk of "health care reform" seriously?