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Thread: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

  1. #1
    Veteran Member Katee's Avatar
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    Default Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Do your part to save on healthcare costs

    While many of the factors that drive the relentless increase in health care costs are beyond individual control, you are still able to exert personal influence over costs. Just as in political elections, your one vote alone may not count; it's the collective effort of many people who share similar opinions that results in real change.

    I just got the new monthly premium for my high-deductible health insurance: Up $300 per month, putting my family's total premium over $2000 per month---for four healthy people. (My son fractured his wrist playing high school hockey earlier this year; that may explain at least some of the increase.)


    I'm going to shop around for a better deal. However, shopping is likely to only
    stall the process. It will not address the systemic problems with healthcare that continue to drive premiums up and up and up.

    So what can you do to help keep costs down? Here are a few thoughts:


    Never accept a prescription for fish oil, i.e., Lovaza.
    Just buy far less costly over-the-counter fish oil. I treat complex hyperlipidemias, including familial hypertriglyceridemia, every day. I NEVER use prescription fish oil. A typical 4 capsule per day Lovaza prescription adds around $280 to $520 per month to overall health costs (though your direct out-of-pocket costs may be less, since you shove the costs onto others in your plan).

    Never accept a prescription for vitamin D.
    Prescription vitamin D is the mushroom or invertebrate form anyway. Just buy the human (cholecalciferol, D3) form from your health food store or "big box" store. They yield consistent increases in 25-hydroxy vitamin D levels, superior to the prescription form. And they're wonderfully inexpensive.

    Eliminate wheat from your diet.
    If there is a dietary strategy that yields unexpected and outsized benefits across a wide spectrum of health, it's elimination of this thing we're sold called "wheat," you know, the genetically-transformed, high-yield dwarf mutant that now represents 99% of all wheat sold. Blood sugar drops, pre-diabetics become non-prediabetics, diabetics reduce need for medication or become non-diabetic, cholesterol values plummet, arthritis improves, acid reflux and irritable bowel symptoms improve or disappear, just to mention a few. Wheat elimination alone, I believe, would result in incalculable savings in both healthcare costs and lives saved.

    Be sure to obtain iodine.
    In the fuss to cut salt use, everyone forgot about iodine. Lack of iodine leads to thyroid disease, usually hypothyroidism, that, in turn, causes cholesterol values to increase, weight to increase, and heart disease risk to double, triple, or quadruple. Iodine supplementation is easy and wonderfully inexpensive.

    Over time, I hope that all of us can help develop the effort to
    self-direct more and more of our own health. Our Track Your Plaque program has shown me that, not only can people take the initiative to direct aspects of their own health, they can do it better than 99% of doctors.

    I'm sure there are many, many other ways to help reduce costs. Any suggestions?


    Dr. William Davis

    The Heart Scan Blog

    Last edited by Islander; 12-13-10 at 09:24 PM.

  2. #2
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Gonna pick some nits here. Overall these are good suggestions (especially Lovaza, which is ordinary fish oil, FFS!), but see whether you agree with me about the following:

    • Buying from big box stores? For a toaster, maybe; not for supplements! Having worked in the industry, as some of you know, I'm aware of how those big chains put the squeeze on suppliers. Quality is the first to go. Buy a known brand from a source you trust. Vitamin D3 is not expensive anywhere.

    • Cut salt use? Not good advice; our bodies need salt. Choose Redmond's or Celtic Sea Salt or even Himalayan salt (way overpriced IMO) and be sure you get enough iodine from other sources; pick up some seaweed and crumble it into soups & salads.

    Lastly, a little thread drift. I see where a Federal Court judge has today 12/13/10) ruled that part of the health care bill where we are mandated to buy health insurance unconstitutional. You know what effect that will have, right? If it's removed, young healthy people will not buy insurance, thus shifting the members of the pool and raising the price for everyone else. All those folks who forced out the Pubic Option and voted Tea Partiers into Congress will learn the hard way why it's important to be well-informed before you cast your ballot. Dr. Davis's monthly premium is just going to keep on climbing....
    Last edited by Islander; 12-14-10 at 09:30 PM.

  3. #3
    Woozie
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Yeah, all this advice to cut out salt drives me nuts. Yes, cut out processed foods, but salt? Not for this girl with low blood pressure.

    Mmmmmmm........ I'm addicted to Himalayan salt. I love the Canadian salt I buy, but the stuff I tried when I was in the US wasn't so good. Not sure why the difference.

  4. #4
    Veteran Member Katee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Katee
    In the fuss to cut salt use, everyone forgot about iodine.

    I didn't get the feeling from this statement that he is recommending cutting salt, just saying this is a side effect from the demonizing of the mineral.

    There are a few things he says with which i disagree (he doesn't believe butter to be healthy, tho he doesn't suggest shortening/margarine as a substitute). Over all, having read his blog for about 8 months, i'm impressed that this doc who was firmly planted in mainstream medicine as a cardiologist used common sense to realize that what was being pushed by mainstream medical did.not.work!

    I may disagree with some of his recommendations and conclusions, but over all i'm very impressed with his take on things and most of what he recommends.

    Not going to get into the political discussion over the health care bill. I'm a big proponent of Health Savings Accounts but it does not seem that they will ever gain much ground. Dr. Davis says in the comments that he may switch to HSA with insurance with a high deductible.

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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    For a conventionally trained cardiologist that is impressive!
    I also got the impression that Dr. Davis was referring to the general population-when the no-salt craze hit it left people lacking in iodine.

    Sea salt is wonderful!

  6. #6
    Betsy
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    The problem with the iodine recommendation is that people with Hashi's aren't supposed to supplement with it. I'll bet a lot of people with that disease don't even know they have it. I didn't until I had my thyroid removed. But I don't suppose that doctors will be pushing antibody tests.

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    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Quote Originally Posted by Betsy
    The problem with the iodine recommendation is that people with Hashi's aren't supposed to supplement with it. I'll bet a lot of people with that disease don't even know they have it. I didn't until I had my thyroid removed. But I don't suppose that doctors will be pushing antibody tests.
    I had forgotten about that, Betsy. Are there any other supplements you shouldn't take with Hashimoto's Disease? Can you do regular sea salt?

  8. #8
    Betsy
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    I don't avoid any other supplements that I can think of offhand. I'd have to look at the book to see if others were mentioned.

    I do use sea salt. I think it's just extra supplementation that one has to avoid.

  9. #9
    Veteran Member Reesacat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Thanks for checking-a lot of us have thyroid problems with chronic illness and it is hard to keep the various recommendations straight sometimes LOL!

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    Veteran Member mellowsong's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    About 3 years ago, I had a trial subscription to Consumer Labs. This lab is supposed to be neutral (although I've heard that supp companies pay for good reviews). During the month I had it , I researched the heck out of supplements. Grocery/drug store brands like Nature Made, Costco's Kirkland's, WalMart's Great Value consistently tested way below the amount listed on the label. Their fish oils were pretty high in contaminants like mercury and PCBs. Supplements from these stores are at best nearly useless and could be dangerous so I totally agree with Islander on this point.

    NOW Foods and Doctor's Best were intermediately priced supplements that consistently tested as pure and containing what the label said. I know I researched other brands, but these are what I remember for sure.

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    Veteran Member LabDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    WOW, I didn't realize the cost of health insurance in the US was so high - how can you afford it??
    We have an optional system in OZ, pay what you can for different levels of cover, can also elect to pay an excess for hospital stays that decrease your premiums significantly. If you can't afford insurance, you use the public system, wait in queues all day, wait months for outpatient appointments etc.
    Was just wondering about the strange stystem Islander mentioned "All those folks who forced out the Pubic Option.." This conjures up some strange thoughts about paying without money......

  12. #12
    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    It's hard to talk about the health care reform bill, which is central to both preventive and emergency care, without getting political, since there are strong feelings on both sides. So I'll try to stay neutral.

    In the past, Americans relied on health insurance via their employers. I was one of the fortunate ones, always being employed in the professions where excellent insurance was part of the benefits package at very low cost, and later carried by my husband's insurance in the same way while self-employed.

    However, a significant percentage of the population works at low-wage or part-time jobs with no such benefits. They either pay out-of-pocket for medical care or wait and seek tx at a hospital emergency room, which cannot turn them away, though it can and does bill them. Urban hospitals are especially burdened in this way. Thus, if you are uninsured and injured in, say, a hunting accident, or a skiing accident, or are diagnosed with cancer, you are consumed by medical bills and stand to lose any assets you own, like your home. This is how many in the U.S. become part of the homeless population.

    Without taking sides, I will say the new health care bill has addressed many of these inequities. It could have cut off the obscene profits of the private insurance industry, but the alternative was something called the Public Option which a lot of people feared was the intrusion of "big government," and in the end it was dropped from the final bill.

    I'm going to link with an article from the Truthout blog which spells it out so much better than I can. If you can't be arsed to read it all, at least scroll down to the chart of 31 countries.
    http://www.truth-out.org/medicare-part-e-everybody65901

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    Veteran Member LabDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Dearest Islander, have a look at the spelling of 'Public' in your previous post, that's why I underlined it in mine.
    You didn't think I could let you get away with that did you ? Or are you ignoring me intentionally now ? :p
    Hell's bells, I just got here! Late starter this morning...hope I don't get fired....

    My Dear LabDoc, I see what you did there, but I get most of my humor from typos these days, so I'm gonna leave it and go with your innuendo.
    Last edited by Islander; 12-15-10 at 10:19 PM.

  14. #14
    Veteran Member LabDoc's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Islander, "late starter this morning"...noted...if it happens again you will be due for a good spanking :p

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    Administrator Islander's Avatar
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    Default Re: Recommendations for reducing healthcare costs

    Quote Originally Posted by LabDoc
    Islander, "late starter this morning"...noted...if it happens again you will be due for a good spanking :p
    Oooh. Can we plan on tomorrow, about a quarter to noon? That's, if it's a good one.

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