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Money Can’t Buy You Health

by Jane M. Orient, M.D. “Healthcare” is supposed to be the big election issue, and politicians promise to give people universal and equal “healthcare,” or prevent the bad guys from taking it away.

Everyone of course wants to be healthy, and a $3 trillion industry wants to keep the money flowing.

So, I have a confession to make as a doctor: I don’t think I have ever kept anybody healthy. If someone comes to me asking for “health maintenance,” I don’t have a shot of “health” to give, or a prescription for “health” to be filled at your neighborhood Walgreens, CVS, or Rite-Aid.

And as a patient, I can’t recall any ways in which doctors kept me healthy, although they did save my life by taking out my appendix, and they treated some illnesses and injuries. I am very grateful to them, and whatever I paid them seemed reasonable and well worth it.

To my mind, a healthy person is one who does not have to see a “healthcare provider” regularly or take medicine every day, and who can go to work, take care of family, and generally lead an active life.

We hear endless complaints about how we spend too much money treating sickness instead of preventing it. If only we had the government take all the money, plus trillions more, and “invest” it in health, we wouldn’t have to spend so much, and everyone would be healthier—so they say.

This was the rationale for the National Health Service in Britain. Once the NHS took care of the backlog of untreated illnesses, much of the need for it would melt away. This did not happen. Expenditures kept rising and were never enough. The backlogs and waiting lists grew. Ambulances circle emergency departments, and patients are crammed into hallways and storage rooms.

So how would government- funded primary care have prevented the diseases my patients have had? Heart failure? (Statin drugs probably make it worse.) Heart attacks? (When the patient has one, it is too late to prevent it.) Stroke? (Preventive aspirin is now criticized because of the bleeding it may cause.) Osteoarthritis? (We have great joint replacements but are much better at blocking access to surgery than at curing the arthritis.) Gall bladder disease, cancer, pneumonia, blood clots, thyroid disease, cataracts, arrhythmias such as atrial fibrillation, herniated disks, asthma, endocarditis from drug abuse, on and on. If we put all the doctors to work pretending to keep people healthy, who would treat disease and injury?

Healing the sick is what medicine is about. The politicians who promise to “fix healthcare” can only destroy medicine—while bankrupting the country. ###

Softball Elite Development Invitational

Dear editor,

My name is Katie Sluman, and I work with the communications department at Major League Baseball. I was reaching out to you to let you know that starting today in Vero Beach, Florida we are hosting a Softball Elite Development Invitational. This Invitational consists of 90 young ladies from the MLB’s Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities program. This camp is geared toward providing training, instruction, and seminars to the girls from former Olympians, USA Softball Players and Coaches.

I was reaching out to you specifically because we have four players from Illinois participating in the event. Their names are: Julianna Acevedo- Chicago, IL Jazmyn Casas- Berwyn, IL Izabela Duran- Chicago, IL Mya Justiniano- Chicago, IL If you are interested in covering the event, getting in contact with your local players, or receiving photo/video from the event itself please let me know, and I can set something up for you.

Thanks, Katie Sluman

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