Is Having Health Insurance Healthy?

I'm going to put my disclaimer right up front on this one. This blog posting does not advocate that anybody give up their health insurance policy. I have health insurance myself, and I believe everybody should have it (unless maybe if you're some kind of billionaire or something). And everybody should see their doctors when required to do so and follow their doctor's advice.

Having said that, however, it does strike me that health insurance policies as they exist today may be bad for our health in so many ways. And while I'm writing about our personal health today, you might consider the adverse effects on our finances, the nation's fiscal health, the planet and the atmosphere as well. Amazingly, the very existence of health care policies that cover the things they cover today seems to be extremely negative.

Obviously, health insurance is good too though. Let me make that point first. If we're in an accident, whether it's an automobile accident or falling out of a tree (or off of a unicycle as I recently did), the medical profession is standing at the ready to help us. And that's a good thing. And having insurance to cover such an event is important because it can be costly. I have a friend who was in an automobile accident a couple years ago and he was laid up in the hospital for months as a result of it. Without insurance, that could have left him bankrupt or at least a substantial portion of his savings could be gone.

And there are illnesses that we can't do anything about. Health insurance helps us to weather those illnesses without substantial unrecoverable losses. So, I am an advocate for having health insurance.

But health insurance can be bad for us too. How so, you might wonder. Well, take the fact that there are so many Americans on statin drugs. Or they're taking nitroglycerin for angina pains. They are on statin drugs and/or nitroglycerin for a disease that is considered by many doctors to be both completely curable and reversible. And the side effects of being on statin drugs, for example, can be significant. Liver damage and muscle weakness and soreness are what I understand to be two well known side effects. I myself was on statin drugs and I had to be tested every few months to ensure that there was no liver damage caused by the drug. I also noticed muscle soreness while on the drug that went away after getting off of the statin drug.

So, why do I say that health insurance could be hurting our health. Mainly because statin drugs are very, very expensive and without health insurance of some kind, people wouldn't be able to afford the drugs. Today, much of the costs of those drugs are borne by the taxpayers since the majority of statin drug use is likely with those over age 65 who are on Medicare. And Medicare is a big chunk of our national debt.

So, take away the health insurance that pays for these expensive drugs and what choices are people left with. Well, you could argue that they are left with heart disease that will kill them. I would argue that the heart disease will kill them even with the drugs. The better choice that people have is to eat whole plant-based foods. By eating whole plant-based foods, they will actually be addressing the cause of their disease as opposed to addressing the symptoms of the disease. And there aren't the side effects that come with the medicine prescribed by doctors and paid for by health insurance plans.

From what I've seen, much of what happens in medicine seems to create the need for more medicine. That is you go to the doctor for one problem. The doctor gives you medicine for the problem you went for but the side effects then create the need for taking another kind of medicine to counter the first medicine. And this effect cascades on itself. Or the doctor does a test which reveals the need for some medicine or an operation or something. And that creates the need for more medicines and more operations and so on.

In my mind, the best solution is to think of medicine as a last resort. And even then we need to be realistic about what medicine can do. And we need to recognize that medicine addresses symptoms. What we eat and the lifestyle choices we make are what address the causes. We think we go to the doctor for a cure, but the dirty secret is doctors don't cure. They treat symptoms and they manage disease. You have heart disease, then expect to take a statin drug for the rest of your life. I believe the drug won't cure the heart disease, but it will manage it up until the day your disease or something else kills you.

On the other hand, focus on eating a plant-based diet and you might even reverse your disease. That is, you may find the cure right in your own kitchen. To me, the choice is pretty clear. Whole foods, plant-based ways of eating win out every time.