Health can not ever be a “right”

Health is not dealt with an even hand to all players in the game of life. Some are born with pre-existing conditions and some develop chronic conditions  later which are through no specific fault of the patient. Chronic issues can be due to underlying metabolic differences or other genetic differences that interact poorly with environmental toxins or with an infection that occurred at just the wrong stage of development for the fetus, infant or child.

Those dealt a fuller hand of health at birth, might not ever go on to develop a chronic illness unless they fail to live a healthy lifestyle, or they are exposed to increased toxins or an infection of some disabling sort.

The idea that health care is a human right is a nice idea that many nations do support with some form of national health care.  However the individual may still have started with more  or less “health” than average and may need more or less health care as a result. A national health care system based on for-profit high cost treatments that don’t really resolve underlying issues may be profitable for the health care system but could be a “right” to bankruptcy due to co-pays for the patient, and due to the total cost of care for the nation as a whole.

Health is cheaper and generally a lot more comfortable than illness. A system that focused more on individualized preventative care could catch underlying differences that leave some people more susceptible to developing chronic illness and provide guidance and any special supplements that might be needed to the person, before the person develops the chronic disease. Many chronic conditions are easier to prevent than to treat, sometimes a “cure” is not possible if lasting damage to an organ system occurred and ongoing management is then needed which might require medications or ongoing treatments of some (expensive) sort. If more people were able to prevent the expensive chronic illness from developing than they are less at risk for personal bankruptcy and the system as a whole would also be more stable. Insurance is based on the gamble that more people will be paying a basic fee each year that they don’t end up needing to use, while others end up using more dollars worth of health care than they paid into the system. Too many sick people using up more dollars than they paid means the insurance company can’t cover the total expense out of the fees – so then they increase the fees – which ups the risk of bankruptcy for the nation or individuals with excess costs due to their health needs.

My work still needs to be worked into a peer-review format and submitted to academic journals for the peer-review process. While it could help individuals who choose to read and think for themselves it can’t officially be recommended by health professionals until evidence based research supports the information. Those who look may see that I discuss topics and put things together differently than current standard knowledge – that doesn’t mean I’m wrong just because the standard says something different – look at the health statistics and ask yourself if the standard is providing health at a cost effective manner to most people?

No – the Social Progress Index suggests that some in the U.S. get excellent care but that most on average are getting results close to that of third world nations.  That’s where more research truly is needed – while it would be difficult to write a research study for individualized care compared to writing one for one specific medication it would still be possible. The study would need to measure something more like total sick days versus well days for the study group receiving individual guidance versus the control group receiving the guidance that would be provided by the current standard of care. Or total number of deaths within the many year time frame – this would have to be a large study that lasted many years to check long term effectiveness, however the short term sick day versus well day, or some other short term weight loss or blood pressure type measurements could be included to check whether individualized guidance was more effective at promoting general wellness than the current standard of care.

However, research on preventative health guidance, individualized somewhat for each person’s particular issues and skillset, has been found to be very cost effective at saving Medicaid spending. The supplemental nutrition, health screening and education program, WIC, has been found to save more in Medicaid spending than the WIC program costs. And my own experience professionally working with thousands of infants, children and women makes me very confident that my particular research findings and education methods can be very effective for individuals who listen and try the advice. It is that confidence that has kept me working towards sharing the information in a format that can be easy to use and  are safe grocery store type recommendations – for the most part. Sometimes supplements are needed for some conditions or special health issues.

I will also try to work with the health insurance system to pitch preventative health care services as being more economic for the insurance company – profit makes the capitalist world go round – and they are already encouraging the use of preventative care – they just don’t realize the current system isn’t really providing it. Until a lab test shows that you are “sick” enough for a diagnosis and medication, then you are likely to not get much further guidance about preventative health care beyond standard non-individualized recommendations.

The problem with “evidence-based recommendations” however, is that they are based on a research premise that any result better than placebo effect (~40%) is significant and the recommendation can then be made for 100% of the people. That leaves potentially 60% of the people receiving a medication that may not help them and may actually hurt them.

Individualized care is needed for all the people with conditions that occur in less than 40% of a research group. Some diseases and conditions are varied enough that all the patients need more individualized care – autism spectrum disorder includes many variations in symptoms with some common themes. It is recommended to treat each patient on the autism spectrum as an individual patient rather than trying to apply a “standard” care plan. Standardized care plans are only helpful for conditions that are fairly consistent for most patients with the condition – and as a baseline to start from for individualizing with further detail or modifications to the standard care plan.

  • Disclaimer: Opinions are my own and the information is provided for educational purposes within the guidelines of fair use. While I am a Registered Dietitian this information is not intended to provide individual health guidance. Please see a health professional for individual health care purposes. 
Health can not ever be a "right" by

By Jenny

I am a public health nutrition counselor with fifteen years experience in the field of prenatal and early child health and lactation education (breast feeding support). Autoimmune disease, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and genetic defects that can cause nutrient deficiencies are also research interests.