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Thursday, July 4, 2019

Here's How Insurance Companies Gained Control Over Doctors and YOU

So, my pharmacist says I can only get one inhaler a month. I cannot buy one until it's been 30 days since I bought that last one. So, what gives insurance companies the power to control you like this? Let's discuss.

I'm going to borrow a quote from the Heritage Foundation, "The Cure: How Capitalism Can Solve The Healthcare Crisis." Here is the quote.
"There is the golden rule: He who controls the gold makes the rules. If the gold is controlled by the government, the government will make the rules, and you will do exactly as you are told. That's how it works. It's a law of nature. It's like the law of gravity: It's not something you can escape. That's the reality."
 In America we have a system of only a few insurance companies. This is not the fault of capitalism. It is the fault of too much government. I explained this in my post, "Discussing Healthcare Solutions."

If you have too many regulations on insurance companies, only those with the most money will be able to continue on. These wealthy insurance companies can afford to lobby Congress. They champion for more regulations as they know this will make it impossible for their smaller competitors to continue. And eventually all we are left with is these larger insurance companies.

We let this happen. It was the result of too much government control. Government control is what we wanted as this was supposed to fix the problem. But, it has only made it worse. And, to go back to our quote above, "He who controls the gold controls you."

That is how insurance companies get to tell you what you can get and how much you can get.

Back when there was lots of competition, these insurance companies did not have this power. So, in that older system insurance companies yearned to offer a product you wanted at a price you could afford.

If this meant filling the prescription exactly as ordered by the doctor, then so be it. That was how I was able to get three albuterol inhalers every time I picked up a prescription at the pharmacy. And sometimes I did this more than once a month. The insurance company wanted to keep me happy so I continued to stay with them.

Today, however, toss making us happy out the window. With little competition, these insurance companies have grown large. They are, in essence, monopolies. And they get to set the rules. And one of their rules is you can only get one inhaler a month, even if your doctor orders more; even if you NEED more.

So, now you know. It is not capitalism that allowed this to happen. It was our eagerness to allow Congress to fix the problem. And usually this means more government, not less. And therein lies the problem. Many blame capitalism. But, the truth is is, capitalism is the solution. Get rid of or at least cut back regulations. Create space for smaller competitors to enter the market. This is the only way to gain control back from these insurance monopolies.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Discussing Healthcare Solutions

Going where no one else wants to go. We’re mature adults, so I think we can have this discussion. We can be nice. And this is how I would like to discuss healthcare solutions. Let’s begin.

First, what do I think? You get your chance below.

Okay, let’s just get it out into the open. Many of my friends think the government is the solution. They want universal healthcare. They say it works in Canada. They say it works in Britain. They say it works in this country or that country.

Yet, when I talk to people from those countries, they aren’t happy about their healthcare either.
So, is government really the answer. It seems to me the government has been tinkering with healthcare since before I was born. And the problems keep getting worse and worse, not better and better.

Democrats do this. And so too do republicans. Look at Mitt Romney in Massachusettes. Look at Trump, who wanted to replace Obamacare with Trumpcare. It’s all government controlled, just different strategies for controlling. And, quite frankly, as an asthmatic I have seen inhaler prices spike faster than a speeding bullet. And this is way more than the rate of inflation.

And where has government control of healthcare gotten us? It’s made it almost impossible for insurance companies to stay in business. The only insurance companies still around are the ones who can afford the most expensive lobbyists. They lobby for things like Obamacare, which in turn make it even harder for their competitors to stay in business. And so their competitors go out of business, and they end up with large insurance monopolies.

Ditto for large hospital groups. They have been eating up smaller hospitals that have been regulated out of business. Government has created so many regulations that these smaller hospitals can no longe afford keep their doors open without signing merger agreements with these larger hopsital groups. Just go to the ER for asthma and you will see first hand this has in no way resulted in lower healthcare prices. I recently paid more than $700 for an ER doctor to prescribe me prednisone

Ditto for pharmaceuticals. Now we often refer to them as “Big Pharma” and we often blame them for the expensive asthma medicines. We say they are greedy. But, let’s be honest here, if I was the CEO of a “Big Pharma company, and I had the power to get rid of my competition simply by lobbying congress, I would do it in a heartbeat. It’s just smart business.

So, it’s not Big Pharma, and it’s not big insurance, and it’s not big hospitals, that are responsible for this crisis. And, yes, it is a crisis. When asthmatics can no longer afford the medicines they once paid for out of pocket, it’s a crisis. And sorry, I don’t think it’s the fault of these companies. Now, they are definitely not innocent here. But, the main fault can be put on the feet of Congress.

It just seems like every time there’s a problem someone in Cogress sees it as an opportunity. They say things like, “Ah, you have a problem. What can we do to help? What can we do to buy your ote. And of course they buy it with other people’s monty. Ah, let’s create another bill. Let’s create another regulation. Let’s create more government.”

They say it will work. They convince us it will. And the end result is it never does. And they they attempt to solve it with even more government. And it still doesn’t work. And yet we keep supporting for and voting for this nonsense.

What I propose is the exact opposite.

I do not know anyone, republican or democrat, who is happy with the current healthcare system. And the current approach to healthcare is government involvement. And obviously it is not working. So why not do the opposite.

Why not try capitalism?

It’s the only option that has never been tried with healthcare. Many of my friends say it won’t work. But how do they know when it’s never been tried.

What happens when half the people get free or discounted healthcare? The answer is  everyone who pays has to pay more to make up for those who don’t pay. And if everyone has free healthcare, then people who work will still have to pay for it anyway through higher taxes. So, either way people like me are going to pay for your free healthcare. And let’s be honest here, people like me are barely getting by as it is.

As noted above, big pharma became big pharma because their competition went under. And the less competition the higher the prices. It’s simple economics 101. And this is what has happened with healthcare. The price of healthcare has risen higher than poeple can afford. It has risen faster than what a capitalistic market would allow.

For example, a store that charged $100 for a gallon of milk would go out of business in a capitalistic system. The businesses that stay are those that have a great product or service at the best price. And the more competition you have the better the product or service and the lower the price.

Another problem with healthcare right now is there’s little incentive for smart people with great ideas to jump into the healthcare arena. So this limits creativitity and it limits options. So, there could be someone out there with a better product, a better medicine, maybe even a cure for asthma. But we won’t see it because our current system blocks that person from entering the arena.

And that’s why capitalism is so great. People have the potential to make profits by creating products or services that we want or need. They can make a profit off making our lives better. Their success is determined by how well they meet our needs. That’s capitalism.

So, my solution to the healthcare crisis is to get the government out of it.

Give capitalism a try.  

Friday, June 28, 2019

Get That Out Of Your Mouth

"Her sats were in the high 80s. So, I took the nasal cannula out of her nose and put it into her mouth." 

I cringe every time I hear this. And I hear it at least once a month. Multiply that by 22 years and you get 264 times. That's 264 times someone has said that to me, or something similar.

Back in the day I'd take the cannula out of that person's mouth and put it back into their nose where it belongs. 

For crying out loud! It's called a nasal cannula, not mouth cannula. Just the idea that someone puts something that was in a person's nose and puts it into their mouth sounds gross to me. How about you? 

"But, the sats shot up from 88% to 95% after I did it!"

Yes! True. But you can accomplish the same thing by other methods. You can turn the flow from 2lpm to 3 lpm or higher if needed. You can use a mask. You can use a Venturi Mask. That's what they were invented for. You can use a simple mask. So many better ways to increase oxygen and oxygen levels than by inserting a gross cannula into a person's mouth. 

I have tried explaining the science to people. In the past, I have explained how the sinuses act as reservoirs. As 100% oxygen enters the nares from the cannula, it builds up in the sinuses. When you inhale you are inhaling this oxygen plus some room air. So, you are still getting oxygen.

"But they have a stuffy nose!"

So! They still have sinuses. Air is still getting in.

"But they are mouth breathers!"

So. Even if you breathe in through your mouth, you are still going to entrain air and oxygen from the sinuses. You will still be inhaling that oxygen. 

"But... But... the oxygen sat went up when I did it." 

Fine. 

So, this is when I give up. And I no longer use science. Today, I just keep quiet about it. If the nurse wants to put a nasal cannula into a person's mouth, and the patient lets it happen, I just keep silence. 

If I say anything, it's "Gross!" 









Monday, June 24, 2019

Busting Health Fads Is a Mission Of This Blog

There are people trying to control the way you live. They want you to wear sunscreen because they make money off sunscreen. Even studies showing sunscreen doesn't protect against melanoma are brushed off. It's because they know if they tell you to do something you will abide and do it. It will become a fad of sorts. It will become a myth that can't be unbusted.

But then you have people like me. I'm a skeptic. When everyone is thinking something, I become skeptical. And then I look into what they're saying and find that there's not one iota of evidence to support it. But, despite that, every doctor says you need to wear sunscreen. Even when studies show it's not true, they say, "Nope! You still need to wear sunscreen! Doesn't matter what the evidence shows!"

Poppycock

You have these scientists who have a political agenda. They can't get politics out of their science. And so even when the studies they perform disprove their agenda, they find some way of spinning it, even within their own studies. You have industries controlling the research. A good example is pharmaceuticals. Who do you think funds much of the inhaler research? It's not non-profits. Most of it is funded by big pharma.

Keep reading my blog and I will give you plenty of examples of this. I mean, how may global warming believers have chimed at some point that we only have ten years to live if we don't do something to stop it. And then that ten years comes up and we are still here and nothing has changed and no one ever calls them on their poppycock fear mongering. No one! Except people like me. And I bet there's those reading this that think I'm the idiot Because I don't go with the fad. I"m not the sheep, so I'm the idiot.

So, when I hear these things I think to myself, "Where's the evidence?" And even if they offer evidence, is it real. A good example of this is global warming. They offer lots of evidence that there is global warming. But, 100% of this evidence is computer modulated data. Did you know that computer modulated data is only as good as the data put into it. If you put crap into it you will get crap out. So, in reality, it's not evidence.

So, that's why I question even this global warming/ Global cooling/ Climate change stuff. It's just industries, political activists, trying to push forth their agenda. And good people buy into it hook, line, and sinker. I won't let that happen to me. And I hope you don't either.

Don't get me wrong. I love the environment. As God fearing person, I will do everything in my being to keep the Earth safe and clean. But I'm not buying into a fad. No way. Not this guy. I'm not going to support a theory, where the solution to it is destroying the economy.

And when you do what they say, and you make the changes they want, and nothing changes, no one calls them on it. Ha Ha. So many times this happens. Then they blame people like me who didn't support it. But they fail to look at their own beliefs to really see if they are truly valid.

Do they work? Is their science unbiased? Do their policies truly work? I'm the skeptic who says it probably doesn't work and it's probably not true. Evidence is that we are still here on God's Green Earth.

So, they say it's conventional wisdom. But, conventional wisdom is not always right. Sometimes, it's even proven false and they won't admit it. They just continuing to push forth their myth on behalf of a political agenda on behalf of industries.

Friday, June 21, 2019

The Ongoing Quest to Bust Up Health Fads

So says the people who sell sunscreen. 
You know I love exposing medical myths. You know, that running will ruin your knees. Or that oxygen will stop people from breathing. Or that wine will open your arteries and prevent heart attacks. Another one is that we should all use sunscreen to prevent melanoma. That is another myth worth noting here.

It's a fad. One person says it and everyone else doesn't even question it. It's what you call group think. And I've always been the skeptical one. If everyone else is thinking one thing, you know there's something wrong with it. And there usually is. There's usually some study somewhere that proves them wrong. Or, in the case of the hypoxic drive theory, over 100 studies

So, I have worn sunscreen at times in my life. And I make my kids wear it, at least if we are going to be sitting at the beach all day. Or, at least I do this until they have nice tans. Once they have nice tans what's the point? When I was a kid I never wore sunscreen. And we always had nice tans. And we never got melanoma. After your skin was nice and dark, we never got sunburns. We never got skin cancer. 

Some people with certain skin conditions need sunscreen. If they don't use it they will have this problem or that. They will get sun burned easily. I'm not talking about using common sense. But, for the most of us, there is absolutely no evidence that sunscreen prevents melanoma. If you are going to get it, you are going to get it regardless of whether or not you use sunscreen. We all get something. There's no point in fear mongering. 

This past week my daughter participated in track and field day. I was told to send my daughter with sunscreen. I did not. She already has a tan on her face and arms. There was no need for her to use sunscreen. Other parents chided me for this. And guess what? My daughter did not get burned even though she didn't wear it. Ha ha. I win. 

But, my point is, sunscreen is nice sometimes. But, it isn't always needed. You don't need to pour it on to prevent burns when you already have a tan. At least that's how it is for many of us. It will not prevent melanoma. It will not prevent skin cancer. All those people who think it does are just being sheep. They are just going along with the crowd. It's just group think. 

I am usually outside long before beach season. I have already been out in the sun. I sit out on my porch every day it's sunny. I started by sitting out for minutes at a time. Now I'm up to an hour. I have a nice tan. By the time it's warm enough to go to the beach I have a nice tan. And when everyone else is putting on sunscreen, I'm already lying in the sun and enjoying it. 

And there's always someone who is just piling it on. And this person says to me, "John, aren't you going to wear sunscreen?" 

And I say, "Nope! I don't wear it."

Then they say something like, "Well, you need to wear it. You don't want to get a sun burn. You don't want to get skin cancer." 

And I say something like, "I'm fine."

And then they look at me funny, like I'm the one who doesn't know what he's talking about. When, all along, I'm the one with the evidence on my side.

Look, there was one study recently showing sunscreen didn't prevent cancer. A Reuter report even noted this study. Then they continued to ignore the study findings and continued to be sheep.

The report said, "There isn’t much evidence to conclusively prove that daily sunscreen use can prevent most skin cancers, a research review concludes."

But the author ignores this and writes, "But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t use sunscreen, doctors say. It just means it’s unethical to do experiments testing the effectiveness of sunscreen by randomly assigning some people to use it and others to skip it."

So stupid. That's what you call fake health news.

Now, you can site a study showing sunscreen did not prevent people from getting enough vitamin D. The article is from NCBI. And even the study analyzers say in their conclusion that they didn't even study high doses of sunscreen.

Look, most kids are recommended to wear so much sunscreen that they get no sun to their skin at all. I go home when my kids wear this stuff and they are white as sheep. So, no studies on how those high doses affect vitamin D absorption. But they (the sheep that be) say this is still not a reason to avoid wearing sunscreen.

See, it doesn't matter what the evidence shows, they still spin it to sell their spin. 

Look, there's no evidence that sunscreen prevents anything. In fact, a recent study actually showed that sunscreen was preventing people from absorbing enough vitamin D. And there's no way to get vitamin D except from the sun.

Oh, you want to know how these fads start. It's because of the people giving the grants. They give out grants to do these kind of research. And, of course, the people giving out these grants have agendas (i.e., big pharma, i.e. politicians). Yep! They have agendas. And as long as your study results conclude what they want you to conclude, you keep getting the money.

And, for God sakes, do you think God would give us the sun and then make it unhealthy for us? I don't think so. But that's beside the point. 

Monday, June 10, 2019

10 Weight Loss Myths Busted

Healthcare has a history of myths. In fact, medical history is about 99.9% mythical. And this runs even into our modern medicine. Sad to say, much of what is known today about medicine is a mythical. I have given many examples of this on this blog. And there's no better place to start than with weight loss.

You have to drink 8-10 glasses of water every day to lose weight.

Not true.

You have to quit drinking to lose weight.

Not true.

You can't eat McDonald's and birthday cake when you're trying to lose weight.

Not true.

You have to exercise to lose weight.

Not true.

Running is bad for your knees.

Not true.

You can't eat saturated fat and lose weight.

Not true.

You can't eat eggs on a diet.

Not true.

You should limit salt on any diet.

Not true.

You have to eat breakfast to lose weight.

Not true.

Diet pop causes you to gain weight.

Not true.

So, now you know about weight loss myths. This should help you find a better weight loss program that works for YOU. Personally, I'm working on a program that allows me to continue doing and continue eating the things I enjoy.

Friday, June 7, 2019

Murphy's Laws Of Respiratory Theray

I recently wrote a post for asthma.net called, "Murphy's Laws of Asthma." I figured this idea can be applied to our profession too. You know, what can go wrong will. So, without further adieu, here are Murphy's Laws For Respiratory Therapy.

When you're in a hurry to chart, that little circle will go round and round and round and round.

When you finally get a chance to sit, every person who could possibly annoy you will. 

As you approach the time clock, you'll realize you left your badge at home. 

If you forget your badge, someone behind a door you need your badge to get into will need you. 

When you get home after a long, hard days work, you'll realize you still have your work phone in your pocket. 

The day you're slow and have hardly any patients is when you're most likely to forget to do your treatments. 

If you get to work hoping for a good day, shit will hit the fan. 

If it's slow and your coworkers are sent home early, shit will hit the fan. 

Right at the moment you're hoping to go home early shit will hit the fan. 

After you get all gowned up and enter an isolation room, you'll realize you need something not in the room. 

After you get all gowned up and inter an isolation room, your phone will ring. 

You took your medicine out of the Pyxis. When you get to the room and get the nebulizer out of the bag you can't find your medicine. 

Your home and having a nice relaxing evening. You make the mistake of answering the phone and it's your work wanting you to come in. 

When you are in a hurry and need a piece of equipment STAT, it won't be where it's supposed to be. 

If you have the ETT ready expecting to intubate a patient, the patient will be fine. 

If you are called to be on standby because a patient in ER does not look good, and you do not have your ETT ready, is when you're most likely to need it. 

When the ER doctor you most enjoy working with is working, you won't be needed in the ER. But, when the ER doctor you least enjoy working with is working, you will be needed in the ER, and frequently. 

Feel free to add to this list in the comments below.