The Obamacare antidote: Your Personal Affordable Care Act by Vik Khanna; Book excerpt 1

The Affordable Care Act is a lie.

Author’s Note:

I am deeply grateful to Rachel Alexander and Steve Laib of The Intellectual Conservative for their willingness to carry this series of excerpts from my new e-book, Your Personal Affordable Care Act: How To Avoid Obamacare. As conservatives, we need to speak bluntly about the fact that not only is nothing free, but freedom — from government and industry intrusion into our lives — comes at a price in responsibility and accountability. My e-book provides the roadmap for doing just that. From health IT expert Bobby Gladd, at the KHIT Blog: “Vik is refreshingly different….a useful, important addition to the health policy literature…[his] detailed chapters on diet and exercise are compelling.”

It should not take an act of Congress to get you to take charge of your health.

ebook_6x9_v4 with blue stripe after pixel checkInstead, we have come to this: we have empowered the government to fix us because we refuse to fix ourselves. The healthcare industry may have complained publicly about Obamacare, but behind the scenes, medical care providers, managed care plans, drug companies, and government bureaucracies knew that Obamacare was a full-employment act encouraging them to go forth and take even greater control over the lives and behavior of individual Americans. This is what happens when you punt away responsibility for doing everything you can for yourself before asking government and industry to fill only the unavoidable gaps.

In Obamacare, the President asks Americans to form a line and roll up their sleeves, not to do work, but to instead offer up their bodies and their wallets in perpetual service to America’s healthcare industry. It is wildly ironic that America’s first black President claims as his legislative crown jewel not helping to free people from the largely self-imposed burden of poor health, but to ensure their enslavement to an industry whose growth curve dwarfs that of other industries and whose intrusion into the lives of Americans will deepen each year, with the full blessing of the federal government.

The way to defeat Obamacare is not to repeal it. It is to not need it and avoid getting sucked into its false claim that you build health by getting more medical care. But, you can do this only if you change your habits and turn yourself into the kind of citizen envisioned by WW II veteran and the original media President, John F. Kennedy, who wrote a powerful essay on this topic in in Sports Illustrated in 1961 (you can find the entire essay PDF at this link.

“Thus, in a very real and immediate sense, our growing softness, our increasing lack of physical fitness, is a menace to our security…if our bodies grow soft and inactive, if we fail to encourage physical development and prowess, we will undermine our capacity for thought, for work and for the use of those skills vital to an expanding and complex America. Thus, the physical fitness of our citizens is a vital prerequisite to America’s realization of its full potential as a nation, and to the opportunity of each individual citizen to make full and fruitful use of his capacities.”

By comparison, Barack Obama’s call to arms over healthcare, which is to empower bureaucracies and embolden private industry to function as the government’s enforcers, is feeble. President Kennedy spoke of health as a responsibility; President Obama speaks of access to healthcare as a “right,” but the problem is that rights without responsibilities are just entitlements. With the Obamacare “right” to healthcare there should have been an unequivocal challenge to Americans to use it as little as possible to help make the industry more efficient, restore fiscal sanity, and preserve resources for the sickest amongst us who really need help.

Your doctor is not a god.

Physicians are increasingly just employees of big medical companies that want you to live in constant fear of the medical unknown. That’s why Obamacare and its healthcare industry cheerleaders promote screenings and checkups that end up hurting people and costing a fortune. It keeps you dancing on the hot coals of clinical doubt about your health, always coming in to have your fears calmed by another scan, another blood test. What they don’t tell you is that all these screenings and scans in generally healthy people (which is the actual status of most American adults) don’t save lives or money. Consider, for example, that newly released data shows about one-third of cardiac stress tests are unnecessary. Let that sink in: 34% of cardiac stress tests (at a cost of $500 million), many with nuclear imaging (i.e., radiation) are medically worthless and were not indicated. So, why do doctors do them? Because they can, and because they get paid. Worst of all? These unnecessary radiation exposures may account for almost 500 cancer cases each year. That sucks, but it’s what you get when you build a healthcare system around the bogus concept that everything requires an intervention and that someone in a white coat should be incentivized to deliver the intervention.

The screenings and checkups do, however, keep the patient pipeline full, scanners humming, and prices going up because they drive overutilization, over-diagnosis, and overtreatment. When you submit to this make-believe-need-based-greed, you literally put your life at risk because of the great volume of things that medical care providers do to patients that create harm, from unnecessary diagnostic testing and treatments, to preventable medical errors and outright care negligence. Doctors, hospitals, health insurers, drugstores, and drug companies are all vendors to YOU. Start treating them that way.

Doctors are not alone in this professionals-know-best deception. It is only in the last 20 years that eating, something most of us do quite naturally, has become so complex you apparently need a professional spin from nutritionists and dietitians on how to do it. Spend a little time on the web (and especially social media) and your head will spin from all the absurd and often contradictory healthy eating advice: eat organic…no, wait, don’t waste your money; eat less salt…wait, too little salt might be worse for you than too much salt; don’t eat fat…oh, sorry, eating too little fat will actually make you fat because you’ll eat too many poor quality carbs; eat foods that have a low glycemic index…wait, we meant a low glycemic load, er, well maybe eat foods that are both; eat breakfast every day because it will help you control your body weight except when it doesn’t, which is nearly always the case. I have maintained a healthy body weight for my entire adult life, eating just what’s accessible, sensible, affordable, and tasty. I can walk into any grocery store in America, including the store they all love to hate, Walmart, and walk out with bags of perfectly healthy food.

We are the nation of shoulda, coulda, woulda.

We should be the fittest society in the world, with a small, efficient, safe, and highly effective medical care system that takes care of only the problems we absolutely cannot resolve for ourselves. We could be a nation of runners, lifters, surfers, cyclists, rowers, martial artists, speed walkers, swimmers, dancers, Zumba-ers, dancercisers, CrossFit-ers, yoga-ers, and so on; we would be people who exercised often (and hard), ate simply, slept abundantly, spent time in silence, and didn’t abuse legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco. In short, we would be everything that we are not. The price we pay for indulging our appetites instead of building our discipline is on display for the world to see in ever-expanding waistlines, diminishing self-respect, plummeting fitness, and medical spending growth charts that look like an outline of the Rockies, with no end in sight to the peaks even as the valleys become smaller and less frequent.

The healthcare industry will not bring you to health.

Health is not a medical product. Health is your birthright…a state of personal wholeness and fulfillment, not just the absence of a physical or mental ailment. The problem for us is that our healthcare industry is huge, wealthy, powerful beyond the imagining of most Americans, and deeply enmeshed with power players in both the executive and legislative branches. Obamacare reflects that reality, as it emboldens and empowers an industry built on government entitlements (tax subsidies and direct payments), because we are too busy suffocating ourselves in a shroud of gluttony to notice.

Both policy makers and industry leaders believe we are too stupid and too lazy to extricate ourselves; if I’d been in their shoes, I would have executed the same kind of policy land grab that they did. And, if we don’t change the way we live pretty soon, we will prove them right. The nature of politics is simply that you do what you must to gain, keep, or expand power. That is the essence of Obamacare: the centralization of power in Washington and the institutions and industry with which our political leaders have created the most outrageous bed of crony capitalism in our culture.

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The entire e-book is available now at Amazon.com (Kindles and Kindle apps) and Smashwords.com (other e-readers).

Here is what’s coming up in the next four excerpts.

Excerpt 2 (January 12) will feature a selection from the Introduction

Excerpt 3 (January 19) will outline the steps Americans must to take to enhance their own well-being

Excerpt 4 (January 26) will delineate the six big lies about American healthcare that drove Obamacare

Excerpt 5 (February 2) will bring the series to a close with a prediction about where we are headed if we all refuse to change

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