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I find it strange that doctors are not included in the discussions about healthcare policy, or at least not in the numbers that are needed to make real beneficial changes. Probably because the changes would benefit the patient and not the insurance and pharmaceutical CEOs. Yes, I’m jaded. But it’s because I’ve seen the ugly underbelly of medicine. It’s like making sausage. What we are doing is not working. Obviously.

Let me share a few statistics with you:

It doesn’t have to be this way. Medicine in the US is sick. Not only is it sick, it’s on life support. Yet all of the “solutions” to this sick system coming out of the swamp will do nothing to change these statistics. Because it really isn’t about our health. It’s about power, control, and money. And it’s downright disgusting. Perhaps one day I will share my story about sharing a table at the top of Aspen Mountain one summer with a healthcare lobbyist, a hospital CEO, and an insurance CEO who were vacationing together. I still feel dirty.

There are many physicians working overtime trying to offer free market solutions to not only lower the costs of healthcare, but improve patient outcomes. Unfortunately, their efforts get very little attention in the media. For obvious reasons. I have been a part of this movement of principled physicians working hard to provide quality care. We became physicians to help patients and to empower patients to make better decisions to ensure healthier and happier lives. Is this too much to ask, DC?!

Not only is the healthcare delivery system a total mess, the APPROACH might be the more offensive part. The two go hand-in- hand. The current system allows for a 10-minute visit that end with a new prescription or a referral to a specialist. This is not healthcare. This is SICK care. I have worked as a physician in the sick care model and am now a Functional Medicine practitioner. I can tell you, hands down, the Functional Medicine approach is FAR superior.

Treating the root cause of disease will always be superior to treating symptoms with pills and procedures that usually lead to more pills and procedures. It’s a system that keeps people sick. I have said this many times, REAL free market healthcare choices plus a Functional Medicine approach would transform the health of the United States. I am still hopeful that catastrophic plans will be offered by the big health insurance players. A catastrophic plan with a health savings account is an option that is needed greatly. However, for the meantime, patients can take advantage of the much cheaper “catastrophic plans” offered by the following health cost sharing groups: MediShare, Christian Healthcare Ministries, and Samaritan Health. Each of these groups meet the current ACA mandate. I have a plan with Christian Healthcare Ministries that costs $45/month. I have a $5K deductible for each “event”. This plan covers catastrophic events like surgeries and hospitalizations. I put money back each month to pay for things like labs, office visits, and imaging studies. I always pay the cash rate which is MUCH cheaper than the insurance rates. For instance, I recently had a MRI of my hip for $450 cash (insurance rate for an MRI is ~$2000). A vitamin D level costs me $40 (vs $600 insurance rate). I was able negotiate a cash price for a 3-day hospital stay for an ileus I developed after getting stung by a bee. I paid $3000 instead of $5700. That happened several years ago, and I haven’t had any major events since then. If I do, I have the money put away to pay the deductible should the cash rates go beyond $5K. I am able to put away a significant amount of money since I’m paying only $45/month for my plan. A health savings plan would be the cherry on top, but having a HSA with a catastrophic plan is a “no-no” for now. Our rulers don’t think this is good for us. Don’t you just love it when pencil pushers and politicians in cheap suits assume they know what’s best for your health, life, and pocketbook? Me, neither.