05/23/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Let's Be Honest: Health Insurance Reform Is Not Health Care Reform

Let's be honest we are getting a small amount of insurance reform and no health
care reform.

For the first time in decades, there may be some controls on the abuses of the insurance
companies against patients and doctors. However two huge problems remain like
elephants in the middle of the room.

Health Insurance Companies remain FOR PROFIT. As long as health insurance
companies remain as for profit corporate entities they will enjoy the protections of
corporations and they will be loyal to the bottom line of profits which puts them at odds
with the needs of patients and motivates them to withhold medically reasonable and
necessary and humanitarian and compassionate care.

Health Insurance Reform is not Health Care Reform. Let's be honest. We have a
"disease management system", not a " health care system". Until we have a system
that rewards doctors who cause and sustain health in their patients, we will not have true
health care reform. The current system rewards a system that can bill for procedures and
not face to face caring time between patient and doctor.

The current system rewards the practice of "polypharmacy". This is the common practice
of prescribing many prescription drugs in the same patient simultaneously, often for years
on end. While the establishment cries out for "evidence-based medicine", such untested
practices, unsupported by "evidence" prevail, because it is cheaper and boosts drug
company profits, not because it is good medicine.

The ugly and disheartening process we have witnessed over the last year has now largely
been replaced by monied special interests. Corporations still influence legislation far too
much in the end. The term "corporate mafia" comes to mind.

When will we begin to pay for and reward patients and health care providers who help
patients to change their lifestyles? How we live day to day has more impact on
HEALTH than any medical procedure or drug in the long term. Evidence supports

When will we reward and pay for early cost effective intervention and care rather than
waiting for the patient to have advanced disease in order to render expensive care?
When will we pay for the time it takes to teach patients how to eat a healthy diet, exercise
in a balanced and health promoting fashion, stop smoking and self destructive habits,
understand the importance of regular and adequate sleep and manage their stress
effectively? These inexpensive methods are HEALTH CARE, not disease care.

It is a good first step to reign in the insurance company abuses. Let's hope that over time,
the people we elect to serve the public interests continue to attend to legislation and
programs that serve the people and not primarily political and corporate special interests.
Kudos to the brave legislators who decided to serve the public good and to vote for
health care reform even though it may cost them their jobs and all the lovely perks they
get from corporations and their lobbyists.