Health insurance needs to be renamed to illness insurance. This is due to the nature of allopathic medicine.
Diagnosis and treatment in the allopathic model of medicine is evidence-based. Medical conditions are grouped on the basis of common symptoms, tests, and our understanding of the science of the body and illness. Double-blind studies then determine the effectiveness of various treatments. This information is used to guide the treatment of patients. The word guide is a critical concept; should the treatment be individualized or should the protocol be followed strictly? This is another hotly debated topic that will be discussed in the future.
A medical condition is always diagnosed after the onset of the illness. For example, consider a timeline that represents the evolution of an illness. The first event is the onset of the illness. As time passes, blood tests become positive and then symptoms or physical clues appear. The more time that passes, the more clues that are available to diagnose the condition. Eventually, the illness fits a classic recognized pattern. The clues can evolve in any order making diagnosis difficult. One obvious observation from this model is that early disease is more difficult to diagnose.
Unfortunately, allopathic medicine and the insurance industry are not as good at addressing the time prior to the true onset of an illness –that first event. There are notable exceptions that have dramatically changed our lives; vaccines, for example, and we are trying to improve. Insurance companies are not responsible for something that has not occurred.
However, it is always in your best interest to develop true preventive strategies to avoid illness and injuries. We always teach our children to look both ways before crossing the street. It is a personal responsibility. The same applies to eating a proper diet, exercising, and avoiding addictive substances. Fifty percent of all illness is preventable.
Ensuring your health is a personal responsibility; you ultimately enjoy the benefit and consequences. There is an additional social responsibility. A recent New England Journal of Medicine article studied obesity and found that a person’s close friends’ and relatives’ weight, if excessive, was a direct risk factor for that person; a type of peer pressure. Our actions influence others. I love it when we spend money to research these concepts and make landmark conclusions.
In Yoga, the concept is called karma. Nancy Sutton, my wife and yoga teacher, would say, “Do you want to be a warning or an example”.