Thursday, June 14, 2012

Health Insurance is Sick Insurance: It's not on our list

© Raimond Spekking / CC-BY-SA-3.0 (via Wikimedia Commons)
Many years ago, I traveled to Köln, Germany. My wife and I had read some guidebooks and we knew which hotel we wanted to stay at.  So we went to the Tourist Office and asked them to contact our hotel of choice.  We don't speak German after all.

"It's not on our list.", he said.
"I just want to know if there are rooms available." I replied.
"It's not on our list.", he said.
"Can you please call them?" I asked.
"It's not on our list.", he said. 

And that was as far as the conversation went.  He booked us into a hotel that was 'on his list'.

This is how our insurance companies pay for medical treatments.  By the list.  If it's not on the list, they don't pay for it.

If you are diagnosed with a disease, and you are treated and the treatment FAILS - if the treatment is on the list, the insurance company pays.

But, if you are diagnosed with a disease, and you are treated and the treatment succeeds - the insurance company refuses to pay, if it's not on the list.

What might happen if insurance companies paid for results?

A proposal.

1. Conventional doctors diagnose.  That's their area of expertise, diagnosis.

Conventional medicines are very good at treating some illnesses, infectious diseases for example.  And very good at treating fractures and other wounds. However, conventional medicines are not effective in treatment of chronic health issues like arthritis, Multiple Sclerosis, and even cancers.

2. Patient chooses the treatment and the treatment practitioner. It's their body.  It should be their freedom to choose.  Of course the diagnosing physician can recommend, and the insurance company might also list recommended treatment for specific conditions - but the patient should be allowed to choose.

3. Treatment is undertaken by the chosen practitioner.

4. An conventional doctor, not the one giving the treatment - evaluates the results.

5. The insurance company pays the practitioner for the treatment - based on the cost, and the level of success.

Insurance companies need to pay for treatments that work.  What increases healthiness, not 'treatments'. What counts is results.  We need to count, and pay for, results.

Insurance company statistics might provide information that is more valuable than thousands of clinicical studies - if they agree to pay more for treatments that work, and pay less for treatments that work less effectively, or less often.

I would like to see us take this one step further.  I would like an additional measurement of healthiness

1. A patient goes to a conventional doctor with a medical problem and receives a medical diagnosis (as above).  In addition to the diagnosis, the patient also receives a comprehensive health assessment. We would need to develop a comprehensive health assessment tool- none exists today.  One could be developed and refined as we learn more from this process.

2. Patient chooses treatment and practitioner.

3. Treatment is undertaken by a the chose practitioner.

4. A conventional doctor, not the one providing treatment, evaluates the results. Based on the initial diagnosis and the initial health assessment, compared to the health assessment and diagnosis after the treatment.  Did the treatment improve the disease?  Did the treatment improve or decrease the health of the patient?

5. The insurance company pays the practitioner for the treatment - based on the cost, and the level of success.

I don't think we could take the leap to this system today, or tomorrow.  But I believe we can make the transition over time.

The first step is to have insurance companies agree to pay for results.  Is that so strange?  If a diagnosis is made, and the patient gets treatment, and a follow-up diagnosis indicates that the treatment worked - the insurance company should pay.

Unfortunately, that's not how the system works today.  The insurance companies pay for treatments 'on their list'.  If it's not on their list, they don't pay.

And the result?  We don't have health insurance.  We have sick insurance.  Health insurance doesn't help you get healthier, although sometimes it helps you get 'less sick'.  Sometimes, the treatments paid for by health insurance can make you 'more sick' but no-one keeps track.

It's sick insurance.

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.
to your health, tracy

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Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Friday, June 8, 2012

Prevention: Health Improvement, Disease Deterrence, or Mysticism

Does the downward dog create healthiness? or does it prevent illness?  Is it healthy? Or mystical?

There are three paths to prevention: the healthy path, the direct path and the mystical path.

Improve your healthiness, optimize your health - and your body will be more able re-balance and fight imbalances and disease.

Direct action can address an imbalance before it becomes a disease.

Mystical preventatives?  Do they work?  Does red wine prevent heart disease?  Does green tea prevent cancer?  Does chocolate prevent stroke? Does yoga create healthiness, and prevent illness? Or are these just superstitions?

Mystical preventatives get the most news. Does green tea prevent cancer? We like mysticism in our news.  Unusual reports, things that make us think. If it's not new and unusual, it's not news.

 All disease is caused by deficiencies or excesses. No matter which path you choose to prevent illness, remember 'moderation'.  Healthiness is about balance, excessive partaking of any preventative will lead to an illness of excess. A healthy diet is good for you.  Too much healthy diet leads to many diseases. Exercise is good for you - to much exercise can damage your body.  Stress is good for you - it's great to feel alive - but too much stress leads to many health problems.

Which path should you take?  Which should you take first?

Take healthy path first, because we don't know what we are preventing. It is extremely difficult to know when we are deficient, or excessive - except in the most basic areas. Many diseases are named by their symptoms, not by the cause - so even knowing the name of your disease, or condition, might not tell you the cause. Doctors often don't even try to identify the cause - because treatment is a more urgent matter. A large number of diseases have poorly understood or unknown causes.

As we learn to create and improve healthiness - we will access the most powerful preventative.

Do we know how to create and improve healthiness?  Advice is everywhere.  Eat a healthy diet. Exercise. Reduce stress. This useless advice sounds great - but produces unhealthiness, just look around for evidence.  It's no surprise.  What is a healthy diet?  Advice abounds, and conflicts.  We know so much about food and so little about health.  And healthy exercise?  We're all different, but every huckster is selling the 'best exercise for your health'. Stress reduction?  Or do we need to learn the joy of stress?

We don't measure healthiness scientifically.  Until we practice and learn to measure healthiness scientifically - everyone who 'sells health', whether it be diet, exercise or stress relief will have a large unhealthy population to market their products.

The direct path is appropriate when you know the cause of an unhealthiness.  It can also work very well when you 'think you know the cause'.  Take the path and see what happens. If you are deficient in exercise, getting some exercise will improve your healthiness. But it will take time and effort.  Healthiness does not come from a pill - it requires effort, persistence, time and sometimes pain. If you think your diet is deficient in vitamins, you can change your diet - or take a supplement.  Either will take time. If you are very deficient in a specific nutrient, but not yet to the level of disease - you may see a change fairly quickly.

How can you know if the direct path is most appropriate?  To be honest, it's mostly trial and error at present.  You have leg cramps. Your doctor doesn't know what to recommend. Or maybe he, or someone else, suggests taking magnesium supplements.  Are you deficient in magnesium?  Take a supplement for a few months and see what happens. If it works, you might try to adjust your diet so you don't need to take a supplement every day - or maybe it's just easier to keep taking the supplement. If it doesn't work, you can make another guess. Doctors often use this technique when you are sick.  You can use it yourself when you feel unhealthy. But take care. If you try everything at once - you won't learn what is important for you.  It's personal.

When we can measure healthiness scientifically - we will, over time, get better at linking symptoms to causes, which lead us to direct actions that improve healthiness.

The mystical path? Personally I don't believe in mysticism.  But I enjoy it.  I love the taste of coffee - and a healthy excuse encourages me to enjoy it. Red wine sometimes gives me a headache, but it tastes great and I'm sure it's good for me, in moderation. Tai Chi is my meditation. Some people prefer the downward dog. And ice cream is good for me.  I'm sure of that.

Which tea is the best cancer preventative?  Variety.

The mystical path encourages us to explore our lives and our healthiness, to live a full, varied life.  And that's healthy. And it's personal - as we each live, and love, and explore our own health - for as long as we may.

to your health, tracy
Personal Health Freedom

Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

May all your Medicines be Green

Hippocrates – the father of medicine – said, “Let your food be your medicine, and let your medicine be your food.”  Medicines are a subset of foods, according to Hippocrates.  I like that.  What are medicines today?  What are foods?

Foods are natural. They come from nature.  Foods are things that live and grow. w in nature. When we concentrate our foods, or choose specific foods, they can become medicines and heal our illness.  How does this work?

Hippocrates lived in 400 BC. Medicine was in it's infancy, but he knew a thing or two. All illness is caused by a deficiency or an excess.  If you are deficient in a nutrient - taking concentrated foods may help, or cure your illness. It is the only medicine that addresses the cause.

Illness is an imbalance. Illness can be caused by many kinds of deficiency or excess, not just foods. You might suffer from deficiencies or excesses of toxins, of exercise, of growth, of your immune system, of bacteria, etc.

When you deficient of a nutrient, eating more of, or concentrations of the right foods can correct the imbalance.  When you have an excess, you might think the only solution is to stop eating the excess. But you might also treat an excess by eating more of other foods - which displace the excess. This can be mistaken, by the inattentive, for the 'placebo effect'.

Hippocrates also knew something about toxic medicines. There have always been people who treat illness with poisons.  Poisons appear to re-establish balance not be building up the weak side - instead by breaking down the strong.  If you are suffering from pains of arthritis - a poison that anesthetizes  your nervous system can make you feel better, even though your health is actually worse.

He knew that foods are the best medicine - and poisons are only resorted to when the natural approach fails.

Patent medicines are toxic medicines.  They are not things that grow. They are not from the planet earth.  They are things created by man, to try and 'trick' our bodies into feeling 'non-sickness'.  Patent medicines are not foods - they are unnatural poisons.  According to Hippocrates - they are not proper medicines. I'm with Hippocrates on this one.

Commercial interests want to dismiss natural medicines, to pretend they don't exist, or don't matter. Many people call natural medicines 'alternative medicines', as if they were some new, strange thing.  In fact, patent medicines are the new, strange thing.  I've deliberately colored patent medicines red - because they are, by their nature toxic.  They always have side effects, because they are non-foods.

Natural medicines are green medicines. Natural medicines are the original medicines, and, like the original foods, they are the healthiest. 

Natural medicines work by improving your healthiness. I call them healthicines.  I think of patent medicines as 'mad'icines.  You only take them when you are driven mad by an illness that can't be understood. 

There are many illnesses, more than we know, that can ONLY be treated effectively by natural medicines.  This does not require any 'clinical studies', just common sense. Any illness that comes from a food deficiency - can only  be treated by a natural medicine, a food.  Any illness that arises from a toxin in your diet will not succumb to a patent medicine.  The only solution is to stop consuming the toxin. An illness caused by an excess of work, or a deficiency of exercise, will not succumb to a chemical concoction.

If medicine was like sports, where the score is what matters, Natural Medicine would often have the winning game.  But in today's studies of medicine, no-one keeps score. Or, more accurately, we only keep score for patent medicines - and then only when they succeed.   We don't keep track of the failures.  Some governments have even passed some laws that specifically protect 'patent medicines' from lawsuits in case of failure or death.

No-one keeps track of green medicines.

If a natural medicine has a success, it is not counted.

If you have cancer, and you take patent medicine - chemotherapyradiation, and surgery - but you die, that's normal. We expected you to die anyway.  If 30 percent of cancer patients who take patent medicines live 5 years - that's called success.  There are so few cases of patent medicine actually 'curing' cancer, that they are not simply counted.  Living 5 years after treatment is called success.  Only now are we starting to learn that the sad, long term effects of chemotherapy and radiation - last much longer than 5 years. 

If you have cancer, and you take a natural medicine - and you are cured - it doesn't count.  It wasn't in the 'big leagues', so it doesn't count.  There are hundreds, perhaps thousands of people who have 'cured' cancer, specifically avoiding patent medicines.  But that's just 'anecdotal evidence'. There were no clinical studies - they only happen with patent medicines. If you take a natural medicine and you die, it was your fault, for not taking patent medicines.

What about 'clinical studies'?  Aren't they the real standard we use to measure our medicines? 
Most clinical studies are, purely and simply, a marketing tool. Designed specifically by pharmaceutical companies to gain approval for a patented product. In 2005, John Ioannidis, an epidemiologist at the University of Ioannina School of Medicine in Greece demonstrated most scientific studies are false – and noted reasons for higher failures in the medical fields.  No one has seriously challenged his findings.  And nothing has changed. 

Clinical studies are typically short (because they are expensive) and directed towards testing a single 'patent medicine' against a placebo.  Drug companies don't dare test against the 'current best treatment' because they want to market 'new patent medicines', not 'best treatments'.  Best treatments are not tracked. Even though clinical studies are short - ostensibly to save cost and get the product to market - they are not tracked when the 'clinical study' is released into the public. As a result, it can take years, and many deaths, to remove a killer medicine from the market.

If we really want to pursue healthiness, we need to track every diagnosis, every treatment, every cure and every failure.  This is especially important for illnesses that our best medicines 'cannot cure', like cancer,multiple sclerosisarthritisParkinson's DiseaseAlzheimer's Disease, etc. Tracking a small subset of patients, whether they are in a 'clinical study' or not - is only anecdotal evidence

It's time we started to take an honest look at healthicines and at medicines.  All medicines.  All healthicines.  Healthicines are actually the complete set of green medicines and patent medicines. 

Medicines should be judged on their performance, and on their safety.

Green medicines have proven to be effective and very safe in many cases.  They are, after all, mostly foods. Patent medicines can be more effective in specific cases, but tend to be more dangerous, less safe.  They are, for the most part - toxic little white pills or transparent injections. We use doctors and patent medicines to kill people on death row - if we are going to kill people, we should be more honest about it and not pretend we are 'medicating’ them.

All patent medicines have side effects, because they are by their nature, unnatural and toxic. Patent medicines have their foundation in antibiotics, designed to kill cells. Sometimes they kill the right cells, sometimes not. According to Greg Critser, writing in Generation RX, there is an epidemic of liver failure due to patent medicines. Many medicines are issued with warnings that the doctor must monitor the liver.  When more than one patent medicine is taken at a time - risk rises significantly.

Natural medicine isn't 'alternative', it's green. It's medicine based on honesty, health, healthiness and healthicine. Medicines based on growth, and goodness, medicines that come from God, not from technology.  Medicine owned by God, not by patent holders. 

Green medicines have health effects. They are, by their nature, foods, healthicines. Sometimes we may confuse health effects with 'side effects'.  We don't know the symptoms of healing and healthiness very well. 

It's time to measure all healthines (green medicines and patent medicines) by:
 - does it address the cause of the disease?  or does it only attack the symptoms.
 - what aspects of healthiness does it increase?
 - what aspects of healthiness does it decrease?
 - how does it do against the 'current best candidate'?  (often called the 'gold standard')
 - does it actually cure the illness and facilitate recovery of healthiness?
 - what are the risks of the prescribed amount?
 - what are the risks of overdose?
 - what are the risks of interaction with other medicines? is a site that collects, categorizes and presents clinical studies of natural, green medicines. There are thousands of clinical studies that measure the medical effects of natural medicines.

Unfortunately, your doctor is not likely to prescribe these green medicines, no matter how well they perform. And in many cases, if he tried, he would find they are simply not available - or even illegal. If you want to get them, you can only break the law. Many of the most effective medicines, green medicines and patent medicines, are simply not available for commercial or legal reasons.  

Everyone has a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of healthiness.  Everyone has a right to green medicines. Everyone has a right to healthicines. 

Note: This post is a minor revision of a post that I originally wrote for It has also been published on and on
Tracy is the author of two book about healthicine: