A lot of very smart people I know think that the so-called Swine Flu “pandemic” is a simple marketing ploy created by the foreign owned pharmaceutical industry to sell, nearly useless, and untested, dangerous vaccines to an unsuspecting US public. In fact, it looks as though about 50% of the people in North America think so.
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
I don’t disagree with that – but I think there is more to this. I think this “pandemic” campaign is a not-so-subtle threat to President Barack Obama and the US Congress… I think that Big Pharma organized this “pandemic” to give a clear message to the US government about how much power they actually have and how they will use it if Obama and the Congress try to rein in the pharmaceutical industry – which we all know, is primarily, but not solely, responsible for the horrendous costs, and problems, of US health care. In short, their message is simple:
“We, Big Pharma, own the US TV News Media. We tell news broadcasters exactly what they are going to say about healthcare. They play the footage that WE provide for them about healthcare issues, and nothing else. If you try to rein in our industry we will destroy you using this tool.”
In short, we are not going to be able to fix the US healthcare system until we take back control of our own Television news hours. In the US “We the People” own our airways, and we can shut down any licensed TV network with the stroke of a pen – and I think it is time we order our Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to start putting lists together. Our charters for licenses to broadcast to the American people are specific. We just haven’t enforced them. Now is the time.
Here is what Obama and Congress need to focus on (besides what they are already looking at)…
I have six points, all of which are important. But, number six is, I think, the most important – and it is not part of the US Health Care Reform dialogue – yet. In fact, five of the six points I make here are not part of the dialogue.
(1) “We the People” need to remove Big Pharma’s ability to advertise directly to the American Public. President Obama can do this with an Executive Order. It was the US FDA, in 1987, that authorized this privilege in the first place. The FDA works for the President. He should do this immediately. The US and New Zealand are the only two countries in the world that allow this sort of advertising. I believe we could reduce overall costs of health care in the US immensely with just this alone. And TV anchor people wouldn’t drive Rolls Royce Convertibles anymore. The TV news Hours would lose 55% of their advertising revenues overnight. We’d get back control of our TV networks.
We would probably reduce US health care costs by 35% overall. And, with this act, we could reduce Big Pharma’s income dramatically – which would mean that they would not be able to hire all those lobbyists they put in front of Federal, State and local governments, nor would they be able to hire all those female silicone-enhanced drug saleswomen they send into doctor’s offices, nor would they be able to fund all those “speaking engagements” sending high prescription doctors to Hawaii (with the silicone-enhanced drug saleswomen?) to “speak at their conferences.”
(2) We need to cancel the exclusive contract that the US government has with the American Medical Association (AMA) to provide coding (CPT Codes) for health care billing. There are 8,800 codes available to MDs, and less than 100 available to all 26 other health professions. All of those other professions have to use MD codes to bill insurance or Medicare, and then explain how the code fits each time on their bills. With this system there is no data to show how well the other 26 health professional’s services work compared to MDs.
We can probably cut health care costs by 25% if we went to a billing system that provides codes for, not just MDs, but all of the 27 different health care practitioners we have trained and authorized to practice in the US. We’d get a record of what actually works and is most cost effective, if we did this. Right now, there is no way to tell how well practitioners other than MDS, actually operate. The system, because of the exclusive CPT coding system contract, does not allow this data to be recorded. President Obama can do this with an Executive Order, as the original contract was signed by DHHS, and that department works for the President, also.
(3) Rein in the FDA, which has been totally corrupted by those that it is supposed to regulate. Shut the revolving door between the FDA and Big Pharma, etc. These days, pharma executives on their way up the corporate ladder find that time served at the FDA, with the “right attitude” while they are there, is a positive career move in more ways than one. President Obama can do this with an Executive Order, as that department works for the President, also.
(4) Same as above – with the CDC. It is way to chummy with big Pharma.
(5) We need to do one of three things with the Health Insurance Industry: (a) Shut it down completely and go to a Universal Health Care Plan, (b) Set up a regulatory commission, with police powers, to watch every move the Health Insurers make – with override and severe penalty ability, or (c) a combination of the first two.
Depending on what we decide we might save another 25% of health care costs. Why? Well, if we get rid of the health insurance industry we will not be paying those 40-50% sales commissions on health insurance to brokers, for one thing. Congress is going to have to do this – and it looks, from reading the proposed legislation, like they are already working on this problem.
(6) This is the MOST IMPORTANT POINT – We need a standing US Health Care Investigatory Commission to look into, and provide information for civil and criminal prosecution of, those responsible for the problems in our current health care crisis. The health care crisis has caused hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths and significant damage to the US, and the individual American business, and citizen’s economy. The problem is so bad that the word “Treason” comes to mind.
This Commission needs to be made up of people from social units outside of the current health care complex – like executives from the American Automotive Industry, and other Fortune 500 companies, and the Unions – those that understand the importance of good quality, effective, at reasonable cost, health care in a competitive global economy. Then add people from the Public Policy Think Tanks, and legitimate consumer groups.. But, absolutely, leave out those in the healthcare industry, involved in the problem. They’ve had plenty of time to self-regulate – and they did not. Instead they built a deadly empire.
Right now, the US health care system is about gouging America. It is time to fix that.
There is a lot to think about in the Health Care Reform issues facing America…
Unfortunately, the dialogue, so far, is way too controlled by those involved in, and actually causing, the problems. Most that is really being done, is that the powers within the system are jockeying for position. None of them want to give up the status quo. The decisions on what must happen MUST be taken away from them. Here is why:
Everybody knows that the US MEDICARE System will go belly-up in the year 2011. Without health Care Reform, it’s going to be, at that point, so costly that the United States simply won’t be able to afford it anymore.
American corporations, right this moment, are cutting back their health care offerings. And where they cannot do that, they are outsourcing labor to other countries. No one can afford the skyrocketing costs.
Health Insurance companies are desperately trying to reduce provider expenditure – and because of that, Americans are being offered a poorer, and poorer, quality of health care. Everything NEW is being banned.
But, more shocking, is that the system itself is a deadly rip-off of gigantic proportion. A relatively new study, a compilation of most recent studies, called “Death by Medicine,” says:
“It is evident that the American medical system is the leading cause of death and injury in the United States. The total number of iatrogenic deaths shown … is 783,936. The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697; the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.“.
The number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million. Dr. Richard Besser, of the CDC, in 1995, said the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections was 20 million. Dr. Besser, in 2003, now refers to tens of millions of unnecessary antibiotics.
The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million.“
And that’s only the “deaths.” The Lazarou study on Hospital ADR also showed that, besides the 106,000 “deaths,” twenty times that number of people had health problems caused by that same hospital Adverse Drug Reaction. There were an additional 2,200,000 health problems caused by Adverse Drug Reaction to drugs in hospitals. It would be reasonable to assume, then, that that factor of twenty times the number of deaths could be applied to all of the death statistics – meaning that in addition to the total 783,936 deaths there were 15,678,720 serious health problems caused by the American Medical System.
Shocked? It gets worse… Wait until you read who slovenly our system actually operates.
The top three causes of Unnecessary Deaths in the United States are related to our health care system…
The number one cause of unnecessary death in the United States, called Iatrogenic deaths (783,986) is shown in the table below, re-printed by permission of the authors of “Death by Medicine,”
|Hospital ADR||106,000||$12 billion||Lazarou1 Suh49|
|Medical error||98,000||$2 billion||IOM6|
|Bedsores||115,000||$55 billion||Xakellis7 Barczak8|
|Infection||88,000||$5 billion||Weinstein9 MMWR10|
|Outpatient ADR||199,000||$77 billion||Starfield12 Weingart112|
|Unnecessary Procedures||37,136||$122 billion||HCUP3,13|
The number two cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Heart Disease. Statistics show “The 2001 heart disease annual death rate is 699,697.”
The number three cause of unnecessary death in the United States is Cancer. Statistics show “the annual cancer death rate, 553,251.”
The total number of known unnecessary deaths, per year, directly due to the American Medical System is 2,036,884.
The government regulatory systems “we the people” put into place to make sure this didn’t happen have been compromised…
Does anybody, for a minute, believe that the US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is working for “we the people?” Don’t be absurd. The FDA is managed, completely, by “Big Pharma.” Doubt that? Then you aren’t watching the drug pricing scam, where prescriptions drugs are marketed in the United States from 2 to 20 times their cost in other countries – and the FDA, literally, is with guns-drawn, raiding companies attempting to import those SAME prescriptions from Canada, Mexico, etc.
Does anybody, for a minute, believe that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is working for “we the people” Don’t be absurd. The FTC is manipulated, completely, by “Big Pharma.” Doubt that? Then why has the FTC manufactured a different standard for “health claims” for supplements, herbals, electro-medicine devices, etc – those things that compete with drugs in the health market? And, how is it that the covert FTC “Operation Cure-All” exists at all? Congress never authorized the FTC to run covert operations – only the CIA, and other “intelligence” groups can do that. So, how is it that “Operation Cure-All,” which I believe is actually run out of a New York ad agency, and has no offices, phone numbers, directors, employees, accountability, etc., is allowed to use the FTC name?
State Licensing Boards have been given the responsibility for regulating health care in America, State by State. Do they do anything to solve the problems listed above? NO, they do not. There is NOT ONE STATE in the United States that has a program to do something about the problems described as the number one killer of Americans – Iatrogenic deaths (783,986). Not one State has a program to put a stop to, or even look at, the problems of Hospital Adverse Drug Reactions (106,000 deaths), medical errors (98,000 deaths), bedsores (105,000 deaths), infections (88,000 deaths), malnutrition (108,800 deaths), outpatient Adverse Drug Reactions (199,000 deaths), unnecessary procedures (37,136 deaths), surgery related (32,000 deaths.
And, what about those 15,678,720 serious health problems caused by the American Medical System? Those numbers INCREASE every year because our State regulatory agencies ignore their responsibilities.
The “Support System” has been compromised…
What’s the common thread that wends its way through the American Cancer Society, the AIDS network, the local “Run-For-Whatever?”
Drug money. All of those above are primarily funded, directly, or indirectly, by “Big Pharma.” So the so-called “War on Cancer,” the “War on AIDS,” the “War on whatever.” is ONLY about promoting new expensive drugs – NOTHING ELSE.
But, Worst of All…
Worst of all is that the American Medical System KNOWS it’s broken, and is taking steps, not to fix its problems, but to destroy those trying to make changes for the better, those trying to make, and keep, people healthy, those focusing on finding cures for Cancer, AIDS, heart disease, etc.. It is trying to maintain the status quo.
Not only have the agencies “we the people” put in place intentionally ignored the problems in health care, but they have been carefully re-focused to attack solutionsthat compete with the drugs-surgery paradigm.
There is a real war, with large stakes, going on in North America. It’s way bigger than the “war on terrorism.” I call it “the war between health and medicine.” The FDA, the FTC, some of the State Regulatory Agencies, and a large part of the “Support System” have knowingly, or unknowingly, joined ranks against solutions to the problems.
The FDA, as we know, raids supplement manufacturers, electro-medicine installations, using battering rams, automatic weapons, asset seizure – all the tricks to stop competition against their “big pharma” masters. The FTC runs the covert “Operation Cure-All,” targeting American citizen’s attempts to communicate new ideas in health care.
But, that isn’t all. There’s more. For instance, the “Quackbusters,” we know, are a subversive organization formed, and funded by twenty-six drug companies, after the American Medical Association (AMA) was ordered by the Federal Court to cease its covert operation against the Chiropractic profession. Their job is to harass market competitors to the drug treatment paradigm. I believe they are run out of a New York ad agency.
The “bible” for the quackbusters, the place where all the “quackbusters” send their unsuspecting victims for allegedly “good information,” is the website“quackwatch.com,” run by a de-licensed, failed MD out of his basement in Allentown. Pennsylvania.
The quackbuster “flagship,” the so-called National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF) is currently being run out of the office of its current president, a hair removal and ear-piercing specialist in Braintree, Massachusetts.
The biggest “quackbuster” success was in 1996 when they took over the Federation of Medical Board (FSMB)’s conference in Chicago, and used that meeting to re-focus all of the State Medical Boards away from the Federal Government’s definition of “health fraud,” (overbilling, un-bundling, etc.). There, they were able to to insert their own definition – that “alternatives” to the drug/surgery paradigm was “health fraud.”
The FSMB, for all of it’s high sounding goals, has NEVER addressed the issue of its individual State members coming down hard on the number one cause of deaths (783,986) – Iatrogenic deaths – in the United States. In fact – they have NEVER brought up the issue at all – and obviously have no intention of doing so. Certainly, they have NO INTENTION of suggesting that their members DO SOMETHING about the problem.
The State of Wisconsin, where I was working on a problem with the State’s Department of Regulation & Licensing (DRL), for instance, has a population of 5,461,710. Extrapolating that to the US population of 284,000,000 we find that Wisconsin has 1/52 of the US population. Dividing 52 into the total number of deaths (2,036,884), and the 15,678,513 health problems, shows that Wisconsin’s share was 39,170 total deaths, and 301,513 health problems. And, Wisconsin’s DRL prosecutors, I’ve found, won’t prosecute anything BUT alternative practitioners. The over-druggers, the bad surgeons, the bedsore ignorers, the malnutrition deliverers, etc. are perfectly safe in the cheese State.
Tim Bolen – Consumer Advocate