Unconventional Medicine: Join the Revolution to Reinvent Healthcare, Reverse Chronic Disease, and Create a Practice You Love
By Chris Kresser
Today’s health care system in the United States costs over three trillion dollars per year. It is far and away the most expensive health care system in the world. One would hope it is worth it. One would hope the U.S. has the longest average life span and that it is getting longer. One would hope we have the lowest infant mortality rates. And one would hope we have no ongoing plagues and that we are quickly controlling or eliminating any new ones. One would hope—but no, none of those things is remotely true. The U.S. is nowhere near the top in the life-span category, and we no longer expect children to live as long as their parents. The ongoing plagues of cancer and heart disease continue to top the list of causes of death. New epidemics like autism are exploding at a rate that threatens to crush Western civilization in a few decades.
By every basic measure, U.S. health care is not working and is not worth it. Not only does it not help patients, but medical professionals are getting sicker from their work. Burnout is common. A typical work schedule for a primary care physician is sixty to seventy hours per week at the office, plus on-call duty. Medical practitioners are increasingly demoralized and depressed because they see that their best efforts are having no positive effect. Each day is another cycle of rushing patients through the office as fast as possible and giving them drugs that usually don’t work and often make things worse.
Chris Kresser spells out the factors behind why U.S. health care is not working. Factor number one: there is no financial incentive for it to work. Health care is an industry that will not make money if there are no sick people. The more sick people there are, the more money the system makes. It is that simple. Pharmaceutical companies control the industry and dictate medical practices that lead to bigger profits, not healthier people. They also maintain a lot of influence over medical research, ensuring that profits will continue to take priority over health.
Meanwhile, government politicians busily shoot at the wrong target. They seem to be aware that the U.S. has a slight health problem, but they think the root cause is that too many are unable to afford the overpriced health care system. The arguments continue over how to fund unlimited access for everyone. Even if this economic pipedream were possible, they might notice—after they stop patting themselves on the back—that we still have a problem. Will they realize that it is not worth bankrupting ourselves for this system, or will they blame patients for not correctly following their doctor’s advice? I shudder to think what kind of legislation that might inspire.
As long as the pharmaceutical industry maintains its massive lobbying influence over government policy, we cannot depend on government to solve anything. If you need emergency treatment due to injury, the conventional system is very good. While we wait for the rest of it to collapse under its own weight, Kresser outlines an unconventional alternative system that includes more natural approaches and fewer pharmaceuticals. It also does not drain the life out of practitioners and is way less expensive. The thumb is UP.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2019