Medicare: What If It Isn’t There For You?

A recent article, “Uncertainty Prevails as Medicare Cut Creeps Closer” cautions:

“Physicians may be faced with a lot of uncertainty regarding Medicare payment cuts, but a large majority has already decided that if the proposed 2012 cut occurs they will not maintain their current levels of access for new Medicare patients, according to a Medical Group Management Association report.”

It is not news that Medicare cuts are looming, but the article cited above puts the situation into sharper focus.

If you rely on Medicare, what can you do? Answer: You can’t change what heredity has dealt you health-wise, but you can live smarter. If possible, avoid the Medicare system by taking better care of yourself. That means, eating better, exercising, and taking supplements. However,  taking supplements for the sake of “doing something” can be a waste of money. Better to find a naturopath who will do appropriate testing and see what your body needs to function optimally. Yes, working with a naturapath is not free but in the long run it can be less expensive than paying exhortibant co-pays for questionable pharmaceutical medications.

To a large extent the public does not understand that other than terrific technology, “modern medicine” does not have a lot of safe solutions to treat more common maladies. If you pay even minimal attention to TV ads for pharmaceutical drugs, you may think that living with your condition without treatment may be preferable to powerful drugs that often have serious side effects, including the risk of death. Lawyers who advertise on TV looking for victims of pharmaceutical drugs should be a red flag warning to everyone.

Health issues should not be ignored and many can be treated with  alternatives to traditional medications that, as I’ve said, can be far less expensive and certainly less risky. However, for many people, particularly seniors, alternative medicine is a “hard sell.” Their generation was taught to respect authority and that includes the authority of doctors. Unfortunately, natural treatments – the kind used when I trained as a pharmacist – have been relegated to the scrap heap because the pharmaceutical industry has effectively taken over medical school education and destroyed what used to be the profession of pharmacy. It’s still called “pharmacy” but it’s a misnomer.

While more traditionally trained doctors are accepting the value of alternative medicine, most are not. The result is that if you are a patient of a doctor who doesn’t respect alternative medicine, and you ask if a natural approach may be helpful, the answer is likely a scornful “stay away from that stuff.”

One thing that works against acceptance of alternative medicine is that it is often tried as a “last resort.” When a patient is in dire straits, alternative medicine may not be of value. If you have cancer and your immune system has been destroyed by chemo, the likelihood that alternative medicine will produce a miracle is slim. Often the family of a deceased patient who tried alternative medicine when all else failed, makes the bitter comment, “We tried that voodoo stuff and it didn’t help.”

If you are convinced alternative medicine is “voodoo stuff” I challenge you to open your mind. Do your own research and while doing so, remember this:

There is a principle which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all arguments and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance -That principle is condemnation before investigation.” __Herbert Spencer


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