Letter to the Editor
Last night you went on Fox News and lamented that California could be bankrupt (again) by July this year. You delivered two budget plans hoping that the passage of Propositions 1A through 1F would make things somewhat less ugly. Well do not lose heart. Help is just around the corner. AB1478 (Ammiano) can save you an estimated 10 to 15 billion plus dollars annually in healthcare costs. So you do not have to lay off state workers or empty our prisons and put criminals back into our streets. These savings can be even greater if the concept enshrined in AB1478 were implemented across the board to other chronic degenerative diseases.
AB1478 simply requires that physicians treating heart disease and diabetes provide their patients with the option of pursuing intensive therapeutic dietary and lifestyle treatments. The standard treatment is costly surgery and/or medications to suppress the symptoms, but not cure, these two dreaded diseases, which are now epidemic. Patients have the right to choose their remedies.
Over 2 million Californians currently have diabetes and the number is expected to double in a few short years. California spends $20 billion plus annually treating diabetes, and if coupled with obesity, which is a side effect of diabetic drugs and costing the state an additional 28.5 billion, we are spending $48.5 billon on just two diseases. Add the cost of heart disease (another side effect of diabetic medicine, running tens of billions annually), to the mix and the sums are staggering.
What is truly tragic Governor, is that heart disease and diabetes can be prevented and reversed. Drs. Hans Diehl with his CHIP program, Dean Ornish with his heart disease reversal program and many wellness doctors like Drs. John McDougall and Julian Whitaker have demonstrated this. The facts are that a growing body of scientific evidence in the last 80 years have demonstrated both the cause and the cure of our chronic diseases. The cause is primarily the rich Western diet and refined foods consumption. This medical and scientific evidence equally demonstrates that intensive therapeutic dietary and lifestyle changes can prevent and reverse these diseases. Yet our conventional medical practice has been slow to adopt this health care model, but prefer to dispense the standard milieu of drugs and surgery over the course of the life of the patient.
Our nation faces a healthcare cost crisis that is significantly contributing to the bankruptcy of the state and federal treasuries.
Today California, indeed the United States of America, does not have a healthcare system. In the area of the treatment of chronic degenerative diseases, where most of our healthcare dollars are spent (80+), we have a disease management system. Managing the signs of chronic disease has become big business. Of the 2 trillion America spends annually on heath care, 80+ of these dollars go to just managing symptoms of lifestyle diseases. The focus of drug medicine is not to cure or reverse the causes of disease but to manage the signs and symptoms – at a high cost – with essentially poisonous drugs. But these drugs have side effects that are often deleterious and require evenly costlier management – to the detriment of the patient and the treasury. It is a national and state scandal. While drugs and surgery have their place in emergency care, and while America has the best trauma and infectious disease medicine in the world, epidemics of chronic diseases are sweeping the nation from heart disease to diabetes. Epidemiologists tell us that America is the sickest Western nation; and that our present interventionist model of heath care is exaserbating the problem.
Governor, AB1478 goes to the heart of the health crisis facing California: retraining doctors to shift their emphasis from disease management to preventing and curing diseases, both in patient care and patient education. Looking beyond AB1478, California can save even more money, Governor, if you support these initiatives:
1. Medical schools must offer more classes in preventative medicine, including nutritional and lifestyle therapy. Today few of our medical schools offer substantial courses in nutritional medicine. The use of costly drugs to manage the signs and symptoms of chronic disease over-rides all other concerns. Classes in continuing medical education for physicians can bring them up to speed on the mushrooming science behind intensive therapeutic dietary and lifestyle treatments.
2. Most insurance companies do not cover dietary and lifestyle therapies. Insurance companies must wake up to the fact that they can save billions of dollars in premium dollars retained by shifting to the more cost effective dietary therapy model.
3. The public must be re-educated. Doctors must rediscover their ancient role of being teachers – that is the root meaning of the word “doctor.” They must educate their patients and the general public about the relationship about their diet of rich, refined foods and chronic diseases. Today the average patient is conditioned by media propaganda and drug advertisements to expect a quick fix of their largely self-originating health problems. The problem is one of a self-perpetuating spiral: the patient is conditioned to disregard the laws of life and health by promises of better health by miracle drugs that fail to deliver, and doctors are expected to meet these demands or lose the confidence of the patient. The winner in this bottomless spiral is not the patient, not the doctor and not the state and federal treasuries. The December 2006 issue of the California Agricultural Journal has determined that every dollar spent on nutrition education in California, the state can save between $3.67 and $8.34 in future medical costs.
4. Finally, the manufacture and sale for public consumption of harmful foods must be addressed. While it is not proper to command behavior, incentives must be devised to influence behavior into the right channels. Today many food manufacturers have largely severed all relationship between food manufacture and nutrition. This too is a national scandal. Today the average American is both full and malnourished at the same time – and that is the primary source of our epidemic of chronic degenerative diseases.
Governor I have outlined these sobering facts in Indicted! The People versus the Medical and Drug Cartel, recently released by Tate Publishing. In April of this year I dropped off a copy to your health consultant in support of AB1478 and requested a conference with her and my co-author of AB1478, Dr. John McDougall. We are still waiting to hear from your office. Is anyone listening to the people?
James Henderson, Esq.
Author of: Indicted! The People versus the Medical and Drug Cartel. www.indicted.us
*Letter to the Editor