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Acupuncture Could Save Obamacare And Turn Around US Healthcare

Acupuncture is a low cost alternative treatment for a variety of illnesses from allergies to pain. The United States is a never ending race to spend more money on healthcare while it's constituents actually get sicker. By the acupuncture community embracing medicaid patients, they can receive the support from the lower class and the government can save money while getting people better care.

Sobering Facts About American Health and Healthcare

The United States is one of the most unhealthy nations on the planet. There are a whooping 72 million people who are obese 1) out of a total population of 320 million, roughly 23%. How are we that obese? Well, at least 1 in 4 Americans are eating fast food at least once a day 2), and that food hardly being recognized as food. The meat and poultry that comes from these fast food restaurants is so diseased and unhealthy that they usually have to grind it up, mix it all in, and make you eat processed meat from hundreds of animals. Those animals eat corn, wheat, and soy, none of which they should be eating but its cheap feed so they do it anyway (when their health suffers, their nutritional value to us suffers likewise). With the Standard American Diet doubling down on cheap dairy, cheap meat, and pesticide laden potatoes, wheat, corn, and a couple fruits and vegetables, it's no wonder Americans are overweight and not in good health. The fast food diet is really an extension of the processed food belief, which is to say you can alter, adulterate, and modify food as needed with preservatives and chemicals and you won't affect the health benefits of that food.

The United States is also one of the most technologically advanced nations and so technological progress is giving people the opportunity to be lazier and lazier. Everyone knows that exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle but the increased access to computers, tablets, and smart phones connects people to a virtually unlimited internet where people browse for so long, some might wonder if the Disney movie Wall-E isn't that far off.

Our progressively worse diet and increased inactivity is a recipe for the state of sickness we are in. With cancer, heart disease, and diabetes being some of the largest killers in the United States, the sad and sobering reality is that these deaths mainly come from chronic conditions. According to the CDC, nearly half of all US adults have a chronic health condition that the current medical practice is not curing 3).

When we realize that most of our health care costs come from these chronically ill people, the way of cutting healthcare costs is an obvious one; find a cure or dramatically eliminate these chronic conditions and therefore lower the spending bill. It makes people healthier and saves money…so why aren't we doubling down on that?

We can double down on smart ways to save money and heal people. One of those ways is introducing acupuncture as a common practice for routine, chronic health conditions.

Acupuncture Hijacks The Body's Immune Code

Acupuncture is a complicated system to master and it requires medical training basically on par with an MD; subsitute the complicated drug names, interactions, and contraindications for the thousands of acupuncture points, what they effect and how it all connects to the whole person.

The practice is time tested, having been one of the oldest traditions to come out of China behind herbalism and some forms of meditation. While the mechanics are poorly understood in modern terms, acupuncture facilitates the flow of Qi, or life force, within the body. Qi is not considered a solid object that is measureable on a scale or visible in a glass tube, but it's effect are apparent once you begin using acupuncture to influence this movement of Qi. As we know in life, all of the things on this planet that are living have motion. We need to move to keep our bodies healthy, as all animals do. Even plants have plenty of inner motion of important fluids and nutrients, and should that motion stagnant or whither, the health of the plant will do so also. Regardless of whether Qi is provably real or not, the inserting of needles into the skin does trigger an immune response from the body. Whether it's a stagnation of Qi or a stagnation of blood or a combination of many things, the stimulated immune system begins activating healing activity in the body through this process. Blood is the vital carrier of many important things, namely oxygen, nutrients immune cells, and so to adopt a health system that can direct the power of the human regenerative system to do our bidding is a phenomenal improvement of what we have today with drug care.

If we really comprehended what the human body is capable of, we would use acupuncture and other treatments that work with the immune system more often. Any time you get a cough, a cold, or a sore throat, it's definitely not the cough drop or cold medicine that makes you better. Check those labels again; they are suppresants. Your body heals you from those ailments with or without those chemical suppresants. When you get a fever, that is your body raising its total temperature to fight an illness. When you break a bone, it is the body that automatically begins the healing process and regenerates bone, reconnects bone, and brings it back stronger than the first time. The same is true for the muscular system. Your body is an incredible healing machine if you only gave it a chance. Acupuncture gives the body that chance.

What can you receive treatment for with acupuncture?

  • Allergies (Chronic)
  • Headaches (Chronic)
  • Migraines (Chronic)
  • Pain of all kinds (Chronic)
  • fibromyalgia (Chronic)
  • Addiction (sort of self induced chronic)
  • teeth problems
  • cirulation problems (chronic)
  • asthma
  • infertility
  • arteriosclerosis (chronic)
  • high blood pressure (chronic)
  • gastrointestinal problems
  • Candida (typically chronic)
  • fatigue (by nature chronic)
  • MS (chronic)
  • arthritis (chronic)
  • skin problems (chronic)
  • diabetes (chronic)
  • weight issues (chronic) 4) 5)

As one can see from the list, most of these illnesses that are treated can be chronic conditions that the medical establishment has struggled to overcome.

The High Cost Of Drugs, The Low Cost Of Needles

It is estimated that the United States spends $1,000 a person annually for pharmaceutical drugs 6), the highest of any nation. This stastical average does not consider that tens of millions of Americans have no pharmaceutical drugs to take and therefore the cost is actually higher.

It's difficult to get exact numbers from an acupuncturist, but a typical 100 pc acupuncture box costs between $4-15 dollars 7) depending on cheap or high quality needles (the needles are all sterilized, but needles manufactured in China (surprise!) are considered cheaper and of less quality than needles from Korea or Japan). If you figure an acupuncturist would see someone 2x a week, 8x a month and use on average 20 needles a session, we can see that the actual cost of practice is quite low. If we take an average price per 100 needles to be $8, and in this scenario a patient would use 160 needles, the expected cost of practice would be $12.8 per month. In reality, the acupuncturist is probably buying in such bulk, perhaps in the 1000s to 10,000s of needles, and hopefully their cost/100 is $4 or less. Nevertheless, we will use the high estimate just to be safe.

A typical acupuncturist visit costs $25-75 dollars, not counting the first visit where the doctor spends at least 90 minutes with you detailing every little bit about your health that he/she can (that initial visit costs the most). If the goverment came to acupuncturists en masse and said we will pay $20 per visit for our Medicaid patients, they would be giving acupuncturists a full schedule of patients and the government would save money.

If an acupuncturists sees 8 patients a day, 5 of whom are on this supposed Medicaid plan, we can see how this might benefit an acupuncturist.

If an acupuncturist only has 3 full paying clients a day (we shall say an average of $50 per visit), they would make $150 a day, $750 a week and $3,000 per month. If we add 5 Medicad patients a day, they would make an extra $80 per day, $400 per week, and $1,600 per month, for a new total of $4,600 a month. The cost of seeing one patient 8 times in a month was estimated high at $12.8/month. If they add 8 patients like this, the total material cost would be $102.4, hardly a worthy stop.

One thing to consider from this is that an acupuncturist probably can't survive on just medicaid patients. Once this practice is in full force and acupuncturists are taking on 10%, 20%, 30%, and 50% of their patients coming from these government sponsored programs, then the government will see the efficacy and usefulness of this practice. The insurance companies will then be willing to send their regular paying patients to acupuncturists because they are cost effective methods of treating the whole person. Those insurance companies may be able to pay more than the suggested $20 dollars, and thus the acupuncturists is no longer a boutique health care provider but fits perfectly within the Obamacare “everyone has insurance” model.

There is an obscure reference in the ACA, Section 2706, that barrs the government from discriminating from doctors practicing integrative medicine 8). Could this be the simply clause that allows this plan to go forth?

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