Monday, January 25, 2010


Like a lot of people I've been following this clustergem that is the "Health Care Reform." A lot of people have a lot to say about both sides, and to be honest there are fair points. Like everybody I have an opinion (yeah you know how the rest of that saying goes). Sometimes i wonder how much cheaper our health care would just simply take better care of themselves.

Top Ten Causes of Death in the States are as follows:

1) Diseases of the heart heart attack (mainly) 28.5%
(2) Malignant neoplasms cancer 22.8%
(3) Cerebrovascular disease stroke 6.7%
(4) Chronic lower respiratory disease emphysema, chronic bronchitis 5.1%
(5) Unintentional injuries accidents 4.4%
(6) Diabetes mellitus diabetes 3.0%
(7) Influenza and pneumonia flu & pneumonia 2.7%
(8) Alzheimer's Disease Alzheimer's senility 2.4%
(9) Nephritis and Nephrosis kidney disease 1.7%
(10) Septicemia systemic infection 1.4%
(11) Intentional self-harm suicide 1.3%
(12) Chronic Liver/Cirrhosis liver disease 1.1%
(13) Essential Hypertension high blood pressure 0.8%
(14) Assault homicide 0.7%
(15) All other causes other 17.4%

People could have largely and for the most part prevented their own problems by simply eating a stalk of celery instead of that bag of potato chips and taking a thirty minute brisk walk after dinner. It's disgusting how simple and preventable these things are -- heart disease, diabetes, many forms of cancer, emphysema, liver disease, hypertension. The overwhelming majority of health problems are lifestyle related (look it up for yourself, you can google it and get a dozen replies in three seconds). That money for a long time usually goes right back out the door to usually--and catch this--THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT with interest (and a lot of it I might add) and to pay for the equipment used to diagnose and treat people, which is never going to be cheap. The government stands to profit even more now that The Dear Leaders have eliminated private lenders to students for loans. Before you jump all over me the comment was tongue-in-cheek and not an actual comparison of Obama to that whack job running the show in North Korea.

Now the people who didn't do anything to deserve their medical conditions are a different story, but it's very hard to feel sorry for people who have signed their death warrant by drinking too much, smoking (which can do much worse damage to your cardiovascular system than your lungs could ever dream of), carb and sugar loading, and being vegetables and then complaining they can't afford to pay for that Lipitor. Sadly this is the vast majority of people. One of things I really want to do as a doctor is hopefully make a difference with people and impress how simple things like eating and walking can make a HUGE difference. That stupid Ben Franklin quote "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" rings LOUD and clear in this case. I remember one night when I was in the ER at ORMC and this woman in her late 30's/early 40's came in. The nurses all knew her very well, I'll call her Sylvia. Sylvia was obviously of a lower income and education bracket, and she smelled like an ashtray -- we're talking Pepe Le Pugh here. She came in with her ex-husband and young son (maybe ten or eleven). Her ex said she smoked four packs of cigarettes per day and had been for years, so maybe forty pack years (which is INSANE).

Well her problem was tightness of the lungs and she was having trouble breathing (shocking), even with a nebulizer. The doctors put her on oxygen and then assigned her to me to talk to and check up on, watching her vitals and what not. One doctor with whom I had a good mentor/mentee relationship told me to go talk to her. Why she did that was probably a mixed bag of nuts. She was probably tired of repeating the same thing over and over and wanted me to get used to talking to and dealing with patients who won't listen, and maybe she thought that I could say something different, who knows. Regardless, instead of the whole "smoking is bad" I asked her how much her cigarettes cost per pack. She perked up and looked at me with an odd look, like she'd never though about that before. Well, I did some quick and dirty calculations in my head, and came to the fact that she spent about $4,000 per year on cigarettes (!!!!!). Her response, "Holy sh*t! You could buy a car with that." At least I brought a new angle, haha.

Drugs are expensive. Could they be cheaper, probably a little, but not much. Those profits go into developing new and better drugs. Not just any Joe Schmoe can walk in off the street and do that. It takes competent and capable people to do this, and they bust their butt to get there and then more when they work. Anybody who's ever worked in a research lab will tell you it's a lot of long, frustrating days/weeks/months for one step of a complicated process. These people are not going to do that for a song, THEIR health isn't worth it.

This whole proposed government reorganization isn't going to reduce costs for anybody. It's going to cost more and ALL of the money is going to go straight into the black hole that is the Federal government for more vote-buying programs that will prop up the incompetent imbeciles pushing those red and green buttons in Congress. For a good example check out the noise made about "high" oil prices the government made until a few people pointed out that the government made significantly more profit off of a gallon of gasoline than the evil oil companies ever will.

If we really want to implement some change let's repeal the 16th and 17th Amendments and impose some term and payroll limits on Capitol Hill. It's pathetic to the point of ludicrous that through all this squawking about how people at home and on Main Street are feeling the pinch of the purse both houses of Congress repeatedly give themselves pay raises, which we get to pay for. And you want to turn your well being over the these people??? Between insurance companies or the government I'm not sure who's worse. When has any program the government has implemented not gone underfunded and/or over budget? Walk down to a VA or minimum standards nursing home and then come back and tell me how you want to hand the rest of your life over to the politicians on The Hill.

It is absolutely amazing how really vapid/bubblegum songs like "I Should Be So Lucky" get stuck in your head. I should be so lucky...lucky lucky get this blasted song out of my head. The Singing Budgie strikes again!

And My Canuck, I love you but whatever it is you're eating from Bob's right now smells like roadkill. I can smell the stickiness of the rice. Maybe I'm pregnant?

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