In this letter to President Trump from Joseph Pizzorno, ND and other leading integrative health leaders, experts call for reform that moves away from the rationing of health care to improving the type of health care provided. The article, originally published Integrative Medicine, A Clinician’s Journal, Feb. 2017, Joseph Pizzorno, ND; Jeffery Bland PhD; Mimi Guarneri MD; Stacie Stephenson, DC, and Ruth Westreich, offer key recommendations that support an integrative healthcare system rather than a disease management and symptom relief system.
One of the biggest and most important challenges you face is our failing health care system. Although the United States spends far more per capita on health care than the next closest country spends, our outcomes are dismal. Virtually every measure shows that Americans suffer poorer health and more chronic disease than those in most other advanced countries.
Unfortunately, almost all the health care reform initiatives being discussed are merely rearranging the chairs on the Titanic: arguing about who pays, who has control, and how to subtly ration. The problem is not how we make health care available. Rather, the problem is the health care being provided.
The key reasons for this growing crisis are as follows:
- We have a disease management and symptom relief system, not a health care system.
- We treat end-stage disease rather than the health of each unique individual.
- Virtually all the passive determinants of health—nutrition, toxicity, and social—now promote disease.
- Government, at all levels, has supported competition-preventing regulations and crony capitalism.
The solution to the ailing disease management system is to address the real causes of disease. We have several recommendations to accomplish this:
- A broader definition of public health that includes such critical concepts as helping and supporting farmers to grow foods with higher nutrient density and working with industry to decrease the presence of disease-inducing metal and chemical toxins in the air, water, food, packaging materials, health and beauty aids, home and yard chemicals, etc.
- Primary care that addresses the true causes of disease rather than simply short-term relief of symptoms.
- Personalized health promotion rather than generic care for disease.
- A reimbursement and regulatory system that prioritizes health promotion and disease prevention rather than expensive drugs and procedures.
- Creation of a presidential commission—composed of change agents rather than vested interests—to provide the US Congress with guidance for creation of a real health care system.
Please be clear: We do not want to “throw out the baby with the bathwater.” Conventional medicine is miraculous in so many areas. Injury, life-threatening situations, developmental disabilities, overwhelming infection, organ failure—the list of successes is long.
Unfortunately, the medical model that works so well for these kinds of conditions has failed for everyday health and chronic disease. We have invested huge resources researching, promoting, and rewarding the end-stage disease treatment model. The time has come to reconsider our priorities. As widely recognized leaders in functional, integrative, and naturopathic medicine who have dedicated their professional lives to reforming medicine, we present here our suggestions on how to cure our sick health care system.
Accompanying this summary letter are articles by Joseph Pizzorno, ND; Jeffery Bland PhD; Mimi Guarneri MD; Stacie Stephenson, DC, and Ruth Westreich, each of supporting these key recommendations. Download the entire article by clicking on this link.