The Trunnion - Blog of Patrick McBriarty

My New Frustration – U.S. Health Care (or lack there of?)

March 10th, 2021 - By Patrick T. McBriarty

My frustration now has a new focus.  The crying shame of the U.S. medical establishment’s resistance to recognize the value of Ivermectin as a remedy to mild, severe, and long-Covid-19 symptoms — particularly as huge segments of the population wait for vaccines and continue to get sick or die.

There is a lot of good information to share with doctors about Ivermectin.  Certainly, IVM may not work for everyone, but with little or no side effects and potential upside against Covid-19 why not try it?

US COVID deaths surpass half-million mark, confirming virus's tragic reach | News, Sports, Jobs - Adirondack Daily Enterprise

One serious caution with IVM is for people with a compromised brain-blood barrier such as Meningitis.  In other words if you have a compromised brain-blood barrier or Meningitis – estimated 1.2 million cases worldwide each year — don’t take Ivermectin.  The other lesser issue being discussed on social media is after taking IVM daily for 2-4 weeks or more people struggle with inflammation after coming off IVM.  Several groups are sharing information trying to figured this out.  Luckily my symptoms are pretty mild though pernicious and hopefully will not be taking IVM more than a few more days and avoid that problem.

The Bigger problem is…   IVM is too cheap!  Yes, that’s right being inexpensive means Big Pharma or Big Health Care cannot make money on this treatment.  As the movie Wall Street is quoted, “GREED is good!”  There is little monetary incentive or business reason to encourage the use of IVM against Covid-19.  And worse Big Pharma and Big Health Care representative may see this as a threat and sew doubt, objections, and controversy around the use of IVM to keep more expensive, less effective treatments that generate income in the forefront allowing the health care industry to cash in.

My first round of IVM cost $26 plus $20 for shipping and handling.  In the U.S. we are all about making money, and the U.S. health care system is no different.  Please recognize in this country, the health care industry and health insurance is organized on a fee-for-service basis.  No shoes, no shirt, no health insurance?  No service!  Money is the incentive driving U.S. health care.  Direct financialNo Shirt, No Shoes, No Shots — No Service? Vaccination Cards Are Coming To Your State – InsideSources incentives should be tied to improving the health and wellness of the U.S. population.  Instead an illogical health care system is perpetuated because the U.S. is a growth driven economy.  There is little incentive to change the system because more expensive health care and insurance industry feeds the economy and is not tied to patient outcomes.   Financial incentives drive doctors, hospitals, and clinics to run tests, prescribe drugs, create expensive vaccines, technology, procedures, and make decisions biased toward generating income with little or no financial incentives to improve patient outcomes.  Again financial incentives should be designed to push for patient health and wellness.

Things to know about your membership package & insurance card | HealthCare .govOf course this is complicated by insurance companies situated between the patient and health care provider.  As for-profit businesses insurance companies make money by collecting and holding money which is then invested to generate additional returns and profits.  So insurance company decisions to deny service, delay payments, or disqualify procedures add to the bottom line, while the individual patient’s health and well being is at best a secondary consideration.

I am not implying some kind of conspiracy nor collusion.  I am saying the U.S. health care and health insurance system is not designed to help patients and financial incentives leave the best interest of the patient and U.S. population on the sidelines.  That ought to be changed.  Life threatening conditions are generally well managed by U.S. health care, however long-term ailments, chronic pain, and difficult diseases like Lupus, ME/CFS or cancer leaves a patient to face a frustrating labyrinth that is the U.S. health care and insurance system between you and effective treatment.  Again with no or poor health insurance you are left to God, Allah, the greater good, or your own devices to muddle through.

U.S. doctors call their work practicing medicine (author’s emphasis on “practice”) and they are trained not to break the rules and discount alternative medicine even if it is effective and easily available.  Doctors must carry burdensome and expensive malpractice insurance and play it safe or risk litigation or threats of losing malpractice insurance.  Add to this U.S. doctors don’t dare step outside normal medical practices to work with patients and try a medicine if it is not backstopped by published triple-blind, gold-standard medical trials or research.  Given the specter of astronomical malpractice settlements what doctor can afford to practice without insurance let alone try something new or untried?  These constraints impact individual medical treatment and I would venture would resist implementing continuous improvement of medical practices and treatment.

Meanwhile in a pandemic these issues are magnified as more and more people suffer and die.  In the U.S. alone we now surpassed a half-million deaths attributable to Covid-19.  Shouldn’t we try something different?

As both an indictment of the U.S. health care system and sad state of affairs the U.S. by far spends more per person on health care than any country on earth.  Yet, as a proxy for national health in the United States, life expectancy at birth in 2019 was 78.5 years, while other developed countries spend substantially less per capita their populations live 2-6 years longer than we do.  Checkout life expectancy data from the World Health Organization in years below:

    • Australia — 83.04
    • Chart: The U.S. Has the Most Expensive Healthcare System in the World | StatistaCanada — 82.24
    • Denmark — 81.32
    • Finland — 81.61
    • France — 82.48
    • Ireland — 81.84
    • Italy — 82.62
    • Japan — 84.26
    • Netherlands — 81.79
    • New Zealand — 81.96
    • Norway — 82.62
    • Singapore — 83.22
    • Spain — 83.22
    • Sweden — 82.4
    • Switzerland — 83.45
    • United Kingdom — 81.4

Our frontier spirit and the cowboys story most Americans tell ourselves about innovation is hurting us, as we regularly ignore useful ideas from clever people living in other countries.  Discounted out of hand simply because they were not invented here first.  Combine this xenophobia with our bias against less developed countries and racism, how can a thoughtful American reasonably expect the United States to ever improve let alone adopt effective changes in health care or other national systems like education, policing, or taxation if not comparing and contrasting ourselves with other nations.  Such comparisons are healthy and helpful to spur innovation and develop better ways to live and do things.

OECD Social on Twitter: "This #InternationalWorkersDay, we pay tribute to all the doctors, nurses & other health workers who are courageously helping in the fight against #COVID19. See the number of doctorsSo, “God forbid,” as the anti-vaxxers might say to the U.S. medical system trusting foreign doctors, particularly from less developed countries experienced in the use and efficacy of Ivermectin.  “Object and spread fear to bury the facts,” as representatives of Big Pharma might say to keep public from learning three scientists (Campbell, Satoshi, and Tu) discovered Ivermectin in 1975 and won a noble prize for this work.  “Ignore, ignore, ignore,” doctors more beholden to corporate profit than public health might say about the 4 billion doses of IVM administered to date combating tropical diseases (like scabies or river blindness) with little or no adverse side effects.  Add to this July’s tweet, “62 studies confirm the effectiveness of hydroxychloroquine,” from our past President since proven as inaccurate and false and a campaign that made scientists and policy folks even more skeptical of succeeding off-the-shelf prescriptions to relieve the suffering and death of Covid-19.

So, a debate has been running for months below the surface of mainstream media on the efficacy of Ivermectin.  Social media is filled with users in multiple groups comparing notes, experiences, symptoms, and remedies in an effort to find relief to their suffering seeking a path to full health.  What I and others have learned experimenting in parallel with new data and continuing release of new studies showing the efficacy of Ivermectin.  The case is compelling as the risks are low and marginal enough for me as an athlete and proponent of healthy living to try it without a prescription.  And it has ended 350-days of suffering.

What will it take for more Americas to wake up and begin asking questions?  We have to recognize sitting back and hang our hopes on vaccines alone to solve the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic is foolish.  As time slips by this disease will continue to mutate and change and we will need a variety of methods both simple and complex in our collective arsenal to move forward.  The best of these may be simple: masks, fresh air, selective quarantines, contact tracing, and better ventilation in buildings, but also medical treatments, vaccines, and approaches like the I-MASK+ protocol employing Ivermectin, vitamins, and aspirin to combat and defeat this virus.

A Few Links to Research & Stories on Ivermectin:

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a pin or pivot on which something is supported.

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