The Business of Medicine

Written by: Lisa Forsythe

Show me the money. True healing is good for the patient but not so for business. Does our U.S. “health care” system truly focus on creating health or is it sick care business? Why do Americans out spend the world on medicine, yet rank 42nd in life expectancy according to the World Health Organization?

Forbes’s article, “Is the Profit Motive Ruining American Healthcare?” asks these questions in a recent book review.   Russell Andrews, Neurosurgeon addresses profit in writing, “Too Big to Succeed?” Dr. Andrews states, “the morphing of American medicine (has gone) from a function of humanitarian society into a revenue stream for health care profits for drug and medical device companies, hospitals, and insurance companies. U.S. healthcare has been transformed into an industry whose goal is profits”.

“Someone dies in the US every 19 minutes from a prescription drug overdose, mostly accidental. Every 19 minutes. It is a horrifying statistic”, reports CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Why does this go unnoticed? The 2nd largest industry in the U.S. is medicine. The fastest growing industry is pharmaceuticals. 9 out of the 10 highest-paid jobs are in health care. The average American takes 13 meds per year. The Medical News Today has concluded, “Yes, I’m sure the drug industry is popping champagne corks”. Follow the money.

True health care means no business; business means no health care. How often do healthy patients need doctors? How busy would physicians be if patients were well? Common sense tells us healthier patients mean less doctor’s visits thus, less business. Patients saw Chinese Medicine practitioners when they didn’t feel well; when basic bodily functions such as sleep, appetite, urination, and digestion were off. They didn’t wait. Also, patient visits for “health care” and prevention occurred at change of seasons. People understood the body undergoes physiological transformations with seasonal transitions; as the calendar’s change, so do our bodies. The ancients knew health is best cultivated when living by nature’s laws.   An ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure.

All forms of medicine are necessary.   Western medicine excels at emergency, testing, and acute care. Technology is impressive. Chinese Medicine excels at preventative, restorative, and cultivating longevity; it is humble. We have no state of the art facilities showcasing cutting edge technology. Rather, we offer thousands of years of time-tested, safe medicine used successfully by countless millions. Chinese Herbs and lifestyle changes work to rebuild the system. Acupuncture expedites the healing process. Wise practitioners teach patients how to cultivate health. Getting well = less visits.

The best of high tech Western and the wisdom of ancient Chinese Medicine is the healthiest approach. They work together brilliantly. Weigh the pros and cons of each medicine by needs. How fortunate the U.S. offers the finest acute care available. As impressive as Western Medicine is, Chinese Medicine is equally so for prevention, restoring health, and cultivating longevity- even if it means less business.

“A sage will prevent disease rather than cure it; maintain order rather than correct disorder; which is the ultimate principle of wisdom. To cure a disease with medicine is like digging a well when one already feels thirsty; it is like forcing weapons when the war has already broken out, which could be too late to do much good.” ~ Nei Ching, 2696-2598 B.C., the oldest Chinese medical text.

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