Health Care Reform
The Affordable Health Care Act, or Obamacare as it is more frequently called, has had a significant impact of American healthcare. While it has reduced the number of uninsured, certainly improving access to health care for many, health care spending is rising dramatically.
Federal estimates show that health care spending in the United States is expected to average 5.8% increases per year from 2015-2024. This reflects the coverage expansions from Obamacare, as well as population aging and faster economic growth. Furthermore, prescription drug spending is rising at an alarming rate. But while life expectancy is increasing in the United States, there is considerable doubt that health plans and medical intervention alone can improve the state of health for the entire population.
The most effective way to cut health care costs is by reducing illness. Every individual who is made aware of the methods to help avoid obesity, heart disease and hypertension has an impact on the health care system. Likewise, every individual who is made aware of nutrition and how it affects the body to maintain nervous, digestive and immune system function can help reduce illness.
Through education and stressing preventative care, health care costs can be drastically cut. When the general population is educated that the answer to good health is a healthy diet, ensuring you are receiving the proper nutrients, getting enough exercise for weight management and avoiding unhealthy habits such as smoking, we will see a huge reduction in health care costs. Even though this is not news to anyone, an individual tends to think it applies to others, unless they are directly told it is essential to their personal health!
Integrative Medicine – The Answer to Health and Lower Costs
Integrative medicine makes use of all appropriate therapies, using conventional medicine and alternative medicine, stressing the promotion of health through natural, effective and less invasive methods when possible. When an alternative practice is used in conjunction with conventional medicine it is known as complementary medicine.
An example of this would be patients undergoing chemotherapy that are advised to take an extract of brown seaweed to reduce the effects and better tolerate chemo treatments. While the patient is undergoing a conventional medical treatment through chemotherapy, the seaweed extract is an alternative medication with scientific backing proven to enhance the outcome for the patient. This is integrative medicine at its best.
In a study by the Preventative Medicine Research Institute, eight hospitals collaborated for one year to see if lifestyle changes were safe and effective alternatives to angioplasty and bypass surgery. After a year, 80% of participants were able to avoid angioplasty or surgery. Mutual of Omaha calculated savings of approximately $30,000 per patient.
Subsequent studies have shown the same cost effective savings and priceless benefit to patients that did not have to endure surgery.
A study published in The Lancet following 30,000 patients globally found that lifestyle changes could prevent a whopping 90% of all heart disease. They concluded that if only 10% of angioplasty and bypass surgeries were avoided by these lifestyle changes it would result in savings of $10 billion dollars annually.
Preventing illness and disease to help lower health care costs can be achieved, but it will take the collaboration of the medical community and patients to engage more in integrative medicine. As more studies show the clinical benefits of substances such as fucoidan, and its ability to reduce cancer risks and mobilize stem cells for healing, physicians are utilizing integrative health care for better outcomes.
Preventative health care through lifestyle changes and nutritional therapy derived from nutraceuticals, along with integrative medicine is the wave of the future for affordable healthcare!
 Lifestyle Heart Trial. The Lancet. 1990 Jul 21;336(8708):129-33.
 Avoiding revascularization with lifestyle changes: the multi-center lifestyle demonstration project. The American Journal of Cardiology, Volume 82, Issue 10, Supplement 2, 26 November 1998, Pages 72-76.
 Effect of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with myocardial infarction in 52 countries (the INTERHEART study): case-control study, The Lancet364 (2004), pp. 937–952.