…. every person, family and business.
Committee on Agriculture
Subcommittee on Department Operations, Oversight, Nutrition, and Forestry
Addressing the ‘Health’ in Health Care: Nutrition, Prevention, and Wellness Practices
Congressman Fortenberry asked me to be an expert witness and testify to Congress on the issues of Prevention, Cost Containment and Health Care Reform. My testimony was concise and to the point. Below is my testimony as entered into The Congressional Record.
It will upset many in the insurance industry, the HMO industry, some of my "medical brethren" and "The Big Government Bureaucrats" that want to enslave every person, family and business. My testimony was about The Empowerment of Every American.
~ Dave Janda
A Prevention & Consumer Driven Approach
Achieving Health Care Emancipation & Freedom
By David H. Janda, MD
On September 22, 1862 President Abraham Lincoln issued The Emancipation Proclamation:
“That on the 1st day of January, in the year of our Lord 1863, all persons held as slaves within any state or designated part of a state, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free; and the executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authority thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of such persons and will do no act or acts to repress such persons, or any of them, in any efforts they may make for their actual freedom. . . And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind and the gracious favor of Almighty God.”
With these words President Lincoln ended slavery, which was a flagrant violation of the institutions of America – “a government of, by and for all the people.”
The institution of slavery denied freedom to fellow Americans. In 2009, freedom is being denied to every man, woman and child — freedom of health care. Some in the HMO industry, many in the insurance industry, and many federal “Big Government” bureaucrats are denying Americans their freedom of health care. The Obama Health Care Plan is the instruction manual and play book for this approach. The “Masters” of Health Care are trying to deny individuals their freedom to choose what doctor you can see, what medicine you can take, what hospital you can go to, and how your spend your health care dollars. They even take it a step further in the Obama Health Care Plan – IF – yes, IF you can be treated. These “Masters” of Health Care are driving us to unnecessary pain, suffering, and, in some cases, death. The health care system needs drastic reform, in this country and around the world. Most importantly, this reform must be based on the bedrock of providing each person, each family and business their healthcare freedom.
As I wrote in my book, The Awakening of a Surgeon, I believe health care reform has become “A Domestic Vietnam.” One of the tragic lessons from the Vietnam War was that if the policy makers and decision makers do NOT listen to the grunts on the front line we will lose the war. If we lose the battle to implement ethical and humane health care reform, this time we can NOT get in our helicopters and planes and fly away. Every American citizen, family and business will become a casualty. The message from the front line is: Stop empowering Big Government bureaucrats, the HMO industry and the insurance industry. The key to reform is to EMPOWER each American citizen, family and business. We should fight to give people, families and businesses control over their health care finances and the right to chose who they see, where they go for treatment and what treatment they can receive. Above all, focus on PREVENTION. Prevention is the key to the most efficient, humane and ethical health care cost containment policy.
The issues of health care reform and the proposed “solutions” are very frustrating for those of us on the frontline of health care delivery. Health care reforms often are presented as a politically Right/Left/Liberal/Conservative issues. On the contrary, this is an issue that transcends political parties and affects every man, woman, child, business and community in our country. I do not see health care on a political Left / Right Axis; I see it on an Up / Down Axis. Up represents individual freedom, freedoms of health care for every person. Down represents oppression of people and businesses and their health care freedom. I believe Americans’ health care freedoms are currently being oppressed by a number of different entities. Many individuals at the Federal Government level and their proposed reform/plans are hindering health care freedom. Certain corporate entities in the HMO and the Insurance Industry a lso are limiting freedom. They are dictating what type and how much health care is to be delivered. They have decimated the doctor / patient relationship and I believe they are putting people and businesses in harms way. When I became a physician I took an oath to “Do No Harm.” This current structure inflicts harm.
There is one solution that unlocks the shackles that HMO’s, some insurance companies and Big Government Bureaucrats have placed on every person, family and business. That solution is Health Savings Accounts. Competition reduces costs in health care, just as in other “industries.” Personal Health Savings Accounts (HSAs) already demonstrate an ability to change the system for the better. Putting people back in charge of their own health care gives them incentives like nothing else can. People make healthier choices about how they live when they “have a dog in this fight.”
Personal HSAs are coupled with higher deductible, Cat astrophic Insurance coverage, so no one falls through the net by an unexpected major need. Such coverage is much less expensive. An employer can put the cost savings into the HSA, before taxes. Both immediate and long-term savings ensue. HSAs earn investment income, and can be used for all medical expenses, covering the deductible, as well as medications and incidentals. Unspent, it grows yearly. An HSA is fully portable, if you change jobs, as many now do. It is also inheritable by a spouse. For those now on Medicaid, patients would be provided an HSA at a fraction of the current cost paid by state and federal governments.
A recent analysis of Health Savings Accounts by The United States Department Treasury revealed 33% of small businesses now with HSA’s previously did NOT offer coverage. In addition, 31% of those signing up were previously uninsured. Forty-two percent of HSA purchasers had family incomes below $50,000. The benefits of the HSAs are many, reducing health care costs by an average of 35% and extending coverage in the process.
Health Savings Accounts, coupled with prevention-related interventions are the keys to reducing health care costs for every person, family and business. Prevention of health care need is the most efficient and ethical means of cutting health care costs. It is a far more effective and compassionate way of reducing costs than manipulating health care “need” by reducing access and availability of care through rationing as promoted by the Obama Health Care Plan, the federal government, and the HMO and insurance industries. By way of example, according to the Federal Government, one of our studies at The Institute For Preventative Sports Medicine revealed how to prevent 1.7 Million people from being injured every year and how to save $2 Billion in health care costs per year. Of note is that we spent $1000 on that series of studies. When it comes to Prevention, this financial benefit is not the exception, it is the rule. Health Savings Accounts are the vehicle to drive health care costs down, and Prevention is the key that ignites the engine to the HSA vehicle.
The goal is to make health care available and affordable. When I became a physician, I took an oath to “Do No Harm.” I decided to add to that oath to “Prevent Harm.” Through Prevention initiatives and Health Savings Accounts, we have an opportunity to bring health care freedom to every person, family and business. If we do not act now, we will never be free of the “Masters” — the HMO and Insurance Industries, and Big Government bureaucrats.
Victor Hugo stated, “There is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come. The time has come for Health Savings Account driven by Prevention and Wellness initiatives.
Obama vs. A Devoted American MD and The Hipocratic Oath, Truth, …