By Harold Lott
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POSTED July 14, 2009 12:30 a.m.

We need a new model of health care that is not just more cost effective, but more patient-centered, caring, compassionate and integrative as well.

Focusing on containing costs without addressing the causes of why people become sick in the first place is simply a sham and distraction. Something essential is being avoided here and the present course of reform will inevitably result in the same old model, or worse rationing health care and raising taxes.

The trillion-dollar healthcare industry is pleased to make minor adjustments without fundamental changes because it is motivated primarily by profits. Through its billion-dollar campaigns and advertising, the general public is sold misleading health protection and conditioned to falsely believe that as we age, it is normal to have some type of medical or mental condition requiring medication and unnecessary procedures.

Don’t misunderstand; drugs and surgery are excellent in emergency situations such as a heart attack or auto accident, but the FDA’s claim that only drugs can prevent or cure diseases is untrue and grossly misleading. Drugs, whether legal or illegal, are used to suppress symptoms and pains.

Oh, by the way, studies show that Americans are more addicted to the pharmaceuticals in their medicine cabinets than the illegal drugs on the streets. If all we’re doing is numbing our pains and masking symptoms without listening to their messages, it’s like cutting the wires to a fire alarm during a home fire and going back to sleep. We are afraid to honestly deal with the causes of our bad health because to do so requires making fundamental changes in lifestyle and diet. Simply put, we are addicted to the way things are.

Listen, folks, we have reached a defining time in history when the universe will no longer tolerate us avoiding the causes of problems. Every pillar (including health) of society is being challenged and transformed.

For example, the lesson we are learning from eight years of the Bush-Cheney administration is that America’s war machine and the same old political strategies will serve us little in the future if we fail to address the underlying causes of violence and hatred.

The same principle applies to health care; the old standardized method of treating illness and disease with drugs and surgery will not help us become healthier. This principle is critical to every challenge we face, from personal relationships to the national crisis.

We need more updating health care principles to a more holistic science, quantum physics, not the outdated Newtonian physics that captures the uniqueness and wholeness of the human being. The truth that nobody really talks about, especially those invested in the status quo, is that most chronic diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular and obesity can be prevented and, in many cases, healed with alternative treatments.

Political and big money interests collude to prevent, discredit and criminally prosecute anyone who claims to treat, prevent or heal illness or disease without using the traditional medical model or approval by government agencies such as the FDA and FTC. We should be asking, who is being protected here, the American public or big business?

If it was about infusing health care with higher principles, then lobbyists in Washington would not have a stronger, louder voice than we do. “Corporate socialism” and “protectionism” is alive and well in America, but you’ll never hear this from the mainstream media, especially from right-wing, millionaire radio and TV hosts.

Finally, in addition to our addiction to suppressing symptoms and pains with overmedication and needless procedures, we are becoming even sicker by manmade chemicals and toxins added to food.

For example, we have entire generations that never heard of “the milkman” who used to deliver whole milk to our homes. They don’t know that such persons are extinct today because the dairy industry came up with a way to increase profits by “homogenizing” milk. In this way, its “shelf-life” was extended to sell in stores in greater volume.

The downside is that studies show that this modified food product can cause cardiovascular and digestive problems. Now, I’m certainly not suggesting that we stop drinking milk (I use it in my food), but the point is virtually everything we eat, if not organic, is loaded with additives, and chemicals, including growth hormones, to increase the bottom line of the manufacturers. Their effects are gradual and cumulative, but what’s more scary, this is done without public awareness or say so.

I’m convinced that the above is the only meaningful and effective way to approach reform in health care. It certainly explains why we’ve debated this issue for 40 years, and nothing really changed. Good health and quality of life have yet to play a serious part in mainstream American culture.

However, the good news is, increasingly, Americans are turning to holistic medicine despite the fear tactics used to prevent it. We can change this insanity only if our voices in Washington are stronger than the special interests.

Harold Lott is a Gainesville resident and frequent columnist.