US medical establishment and health care system not so great
Only some Americans get great health care
The pandemic has revealed many shortcomings of the medical establishment to offer true science-based health care free from political interests and drug industry and mainstream media manipulation and disinformation.
New research findings should prompt public interest in our expensive but largely poorly functioning health care system. U.S. life expectancy dropped for the second year in a row in 2021, despite the use of vaccines amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. An April 2022 study conducted by researchers from the Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Colorado Boulder, and the Urban Institute, analyzed provisional government statistics that showed that overall U.S. life expectancy is now 76.6 years — the lowest figure in 25 years.
This drop comes after life expectancy plummeted from 78.86 years in 2019 to 76.99 years in 2020, according to the researchers. The net loss of 2.26 years was the biggest one year fall since at least World War II. The US mortality experience during 2020 and 2021 was more severe than in peer countries, deepening a US disadvantage in health and survival that has been building for decades. Peer countries averaged a smaller decrease in life expectancy between 2019 and 2020 (0.57 years) and a 0.28-year increase between 2020 and 2021, widening the gap in life expectancy between the United States and peer countries to more than five years.
Here is the thinking of a wise physician. It is long, but is great truth-telling and worth your time.
Those two principles (rigid hierarchical organization and monopolization of a life essential resource) also happened with the medical industry and really kicked into gear when the John Rockefeller (and to some extent Carnegie) bought the AMA and invested a great deal of money into standard medicine (often called “allopathic” or “biomedical” medicine). A variety of competing schools of medicine were removed from the United States, and the practice of medicine was monopolized (for those curious, it is detailed within this freely available classic).
This was an excellent investment and the effect of this monopolization is striking.
Numerous changes in society emerged to support this medical paradigm. Some of most important were as follows:
The society was conditioned to believe that they needed a doctor to be healthy rather than health being viewed as something each individuals was empowered to seek for themselves. This effectively created an unlimited demand for medical services, and as the above graphs shows an ever growing need for medical spending. Medical Nemesis by Ivan Illich was the earliest work I was able to locate detailing this change and its consequences.
Things which genuinely improve public health (and thereby reduce medical expenses) are typically not allowed to emerge, while pointless initiatives that do not improve public health (water fluoridation or annual flu shots) are continually promoted. Likewise, a basic health education is not taught to most people, and instead corporate sponsored health habits constitute the majority of “health education” (industry funded nutritional textbooks for example are very common in college courses). Succinctly, there are dozens of simple and obvious policy change that many have independently identified which could rapidly improve public health and save a lot of money, but despite decades of campaigning to enact them, most have never been adopted.
Hundreds (or possibly thousands) of highly effective medical treatments for common diseases have been kept off the market to preserve the market for ineffective expensive treatments that often require lifelong purchasing. For example, prior to the legislative battle for acupuncture being legalized, I know of cases where Chinese immigrants were raided at gunpoint for practicing acupuncture in their own community without a license. For those interested, I’ve spent decades tracking those “forgotten cures” down, and while I have found many for one reason or another were oversold and didn’t really work, I also found many others that were highly effective.
•Every medical service or product is designed to encouraged the consumption of more medical services or products.
•A rigid hierarchy was created to support this monopoly.
The first hierarchy relates to the right to practice of medicine. A large debate exists over whether or not a license should be required to practice medicine. The trade off is that if no license is required, unqualified practitioners who can harm the public are allowed to practice, while if a license is required, the practice of medicine is monopolized (making medicine much more expensive) and medical practitioners become unable to provide life saving medicines they believe in.
I will now examine a few levels of this hierarchy:
•Medical boards have the power to pull the licenses (and hence careers) of any physician who does something “bad.” Some of the reasons they exercise this authority are valid, but many others are done to target physicians who step outside the line of what prevailing interests want done. This has happened for a long time. To show a few examples:
1. Following SB 276 being signed in 2019, writing vaccine exemptions was for all practical purposes outlawed in California and I heard of numerous cases of doctors writing a single justified exemption and then having their license terminated. For this reason, doctors in California will not even write exemptions for patients who nearly died from their first COVID-19 vaccine (ie. from anaphylaxis or a heart attack).
2. The federation of state medical boards put out a statement that publicly promoting any type of COVID “misinformation" (ie. mask efficacy, early treatment options, vaccine safety concerns) could be used to take away your license.
3. Physicians have had their license suspended for using early treatment options with FDA approval for other conditions.
The experiences of Robert Malone’s colleague Meryl J. Nass MD is a well known example of the above occurring, but there are many others as well.
•It is very difficult for physicians to work privately in independent practice (a variety of factors have been put in place to promote this over the last 10-20 years). Instead they are required to work at corporate, federal or state jobs. At these jobs, they are largely at the mercy of the institution they work within to follow its policies.
It is for this reason as soon I was able to, I stopped working for an institution that controlled my practice of medicine.
During the pandemic, many physicians who had serious concerns about the existing approach towards COVID-19 attempted to do things differently, and were frequently shut down by their institution. This led to physicians being fired for not telling their patients the vaccine was “safe and effective” and physicians such as Paul Marik MD having to sue their hospital to prescribe a treatment they felt could save lives to their patients (where no effective treatment was currently available and the patients were frequently expected to die otherwise). Trump’s Right to Try Act was meant to address this issue, but corporate management has largely superseded it.
•Everyone in medicine is taught to defer to the judgement of a doctor. Hence if you want to do some type of medical treatment and the doctor does not “approve” it, you can’t. In nursing textbooks, it is repeatedly hammered in to always defer to a doctors judgement. Nurses for context typically spend significantly more time with patients where they can see and in their hearts question the human cost of an enforced medical regimen. In contrast, physicians (the ones with authority over the patient) due to their time constraints, typically spend very little time with their patients and are much more detached and isolated from them. This results in the human connection that should be necessary in medical decision making being bypassed, and that organizational structure has been used by numerous inhumane systems in the past.
Similarly, many individuals who have found their loved ones in the hospital have been told unless the supervising doctor approves it, they cannot have any other type of therapy administered. As the hospitals would not change their policy, numerous lawsuits have been filed to permit patients expected to die to receive ivermectin, and to my knowledge in each case where the lawsuit ordered ivermectin to be administered, ivermectin then saved the patient’s life.
To further illustrate this hierarchy, I know a few physicians with active medical licenses in the state who were hospitalized for COVID-19. Each told me during their hospital stay their care was continually mismanaged, they had to constantly be on the alert for a fatal medical error, and many of their reasonable requests were not approved by the doctor supervising their hospital care.
•Medical school to a large extent selects for individuals who do not challenge the system, and once in medical school, rigidly targets anyone who is not compliant and obedient to the existing hierarchy so that they will not graduate.
The medical education process is extremely difficult (you have to work brutal hours which break a certain number of medical students and resident physicians each year; suicide is quite common) and many aspects of the education could be equated to a hazing process is regular. These two methods are known to produce subservience to a system and have been utilized in many fields besides medicine throughout history.
Finally, there is a massive financial cost to become a doctor (most physicians now graduate with between 200,000 to 400,000 of debt with ~7% interest) which leads many doctors who want to do things differently being completely unable to challenge this system.
The second hierarchy is “medical evidence.” When evidence based medicine was initially introduced, it was a very good and needed paradigm. Many horrific and harmful practices were in wide usage and overtime, medical evidence had them regulated to the dustbin of history. However, medical evidence follows also follows a hierarchy which rejects foreign or competing ideas and the upper levels of this hierarchy is bought out by pharmaceutical interests. Here are some examples:
•In order for a study to “matter” it has to be published in a prestigious journal. The problem is that with the occasional exception of the British Medical Journal, none of the prestigious journals will ever publish studies which go against the existing narrative. “Controversial” studies that merit publication are continually rejected, while bad studies that support mainstream views are regularly published.
One of the better known recent examples involved The Lancet publishing a study showing hydroxychloroquine was unsafe and ineffective, which was used to end trials of HCQ globally. This study used blatantly fake data and was eventually retracted after readers complained.
The Journal of the American Medical Association appears to be the most biased publication in this regard, and in most cases you can predict what an entire article will say on a topic before you even read it (ie. does the COVID vaccine have any possible harm associated with it…no). The one interesting exception I have seen to this was a recently published study debunking the use of ivermectin. Here the conclusion of the article argued against the use of ivermectin, while the actual data argued for it, raising the possibility the authors phrased the conclusion to say the opposite of their results so JAMA would publish it (it is very common for conclusions in journal articles to not be representative of their results).
•In order for a study to be published in most journals, it has to pass “peer review.” In most cases, peer review will hold ideas challenging the existing narrative to either a high standard or an impossible to meet standard. Conversely, if an idea agrees with existing narratives, it is held to a very low standard to be published. This is an extremely common issue and why much of the most useful research I come across is not publishes in peer reviewed journals.
•In order for a study to be conducted, it frequently needs approval from the FDA (or an equivalent) and in most settings needs approval from an Institutional Review Board (IRB). In general, it is very difficult to get approval from the FDA to conduct any type of study unless a lot of money is behind the endeavor (for example I was familiar with multiple teams who had safe and effective treatments for COVID with supporting data that nonetheless could not receive FDA approval to begin their human trials). Similarly, despite the fact extremely unethical human experiments are often conducted under an IRB, IRBs typically will not approve “controversial” research, leading to it not being done.
As a result I frequently hear of fascinating therapeutic discoveries made outside the normal research process through trial and error that greatly benefit those who receive them, but in most cases these approaches can never be publishes because no IRB is willing to evaluate them. An excellent 2016 article written in the AAPS (a group that has also continually advocated for COVID patients) summarizes how many actually useful medical discoveries are made in independent clinical practice, but the recent hierarchical shifts in medicine have made it so this process is becoming continually rarer and rarer.
The accepted practice of medicine is also a hierarchy largely dictated by “medical evidence.” The existing hierarchical structure here makes it so that contrary research that makes it to being published nonetheless is prevented from challenging the status quo. I will review the key examples:
•Medical practice is largely determined by “guidelines” each physician is expected to follow. In most cases if you follow existing guidelines (ie. don’t treat someone with COVID until they have respiratory failure, then put them on a ventilator and give them Remdesivir), you get paid and cannot get in trouble. If you do not follow guidelines, it becomes possible to be sued for medical malpractice, health care systems will fire you, and medical boards may take your license.
To illustrate the physician attachment to guidelines: Throughout the pandemic I have participated in an online forum that approximately 100,000 US healthcare workers use. As you would imagine, the general mentality there was very conventional. One of the more interesting things I noticed in the early days of the pandemic was health care providers desperately asking for and enthusiastically sharing COVID-19 treatment guidelines from various academic institutions, while at the same time aggressively shooting down independent suggestions or ideas raised by individual physicians.
Guidelines are supposed to be made by impartial committees of experts tasked with reviewing the existing evidence in order to determine the most appropriate guidelines. In reality, as pointed out in Steve Kirsch’s article, these committees are extremely biased, and selectively chose evidence supporting the prevailing narrative.
In most cases, the decision of these unelected guideline committees goes unchallenged and even though they should not be, are in effect, law.
The only to this exception I know of occurred when the Lyme community sued the Infectious Disease Society of America (which has also published widely cited COVID treatment guidelines I and others strongly disagree with). The lawsuit challenged IDSA’s guidelines that argued against the use of antibiotics for chronic lyme disease, which was frequently being used by insurers to deny payment for those treatments and as a basis for authorities to crack down on those treatments being administered in private practice.
•Many people can only afford medical care covered by their insurance. In most cases, insurance will only pay for treatments supported by guideline committees and forces providers to spend most of their time fulfilling requirements of the insurance companies rather than treating patients. As you would imagine, significant conflicts of interest exist between hospital systems, pharmaceutical companies and insurance companies (for example they often share board members), which further incentivizes specific therapeutic approaches.
The insurance dynamic creates the unfortunate situation where many people can only help for a condition must depend on word of mouth to identify a physician outside the insurance system who they have to pay for out of pocket. Provided they find the right physician and can afford their care (each of which is often not the case) these individuals unlike many others often get well.
•Reciprocally, insurance companies will often pressure health care providers to perform certain services for each patient that “improve quality of care.” If you follow those suggestions (which frequently results in most of the visit being taken up by doing so), you are paid more by the insurance companies. Since everyone in health care is tight on money, those incentives result in significant pressure to physicians from their administrators to follow those suggestions.
The problem is that many of these suggestions encourage doing things I do not believe help patients and often harm them. For example, one of the reasons doctors aggressively push vaccines to their patients is because insurance companies pay them significantly more for all visits if most of their patients (especially children) are vaccinated. Similarly, one of the reasons why hospitals have been so aggressive in forcing ventilation and Remdesivir (to the point they will fight expensive lawsuits to continue doing so), is because Medicare, in accordance with COVID treatment guidelines, pays them a lot more to manage (and then kill) their patients in this way.
•Federal, state and municipal law enforcement authorities will frequently target those who promote treatments that violate guidelines. In my own experience (and for many others) IV vitamin C has been extremely helpful in certain (but not all) COVID-19 cases. There is also research showing a benefit from the therapy Nonetheless, the guidelines recommend against it and individuals who publicly promoted IV vitamin C (at a time when no treatment for COVID-19 was available) had their clinics raided and were criminally charged.
•The media will attack any controversial treatment by claiming there is no evidence for it, and simultaneously refuse to report any evidence that emerges in favor of it. Likewise, Big Tech aggressively censors anything that goes against the existing medical narrative. For example, early in the pandemic, a video was posted of a leading IV vitamin C researcher who had conducted clinical trials on using it for COVID-19 presenting his data to the National Institute of Health. This video shortly afterwards was removed by YouTube for violating their COVID misinformation policy.
How the Hierarchy is Bought Out
As you might imagine, the hierarchy outlined before is immensely susceptible to bribery. As so much money is in health care, this is what always happens.
•When the Affordable Healthcare Act was passed in 2010, its goal was to make health care more affordable. In 2009 total USA healthcare costs were 2.6 trillion dollars. In 2020 it was 4.3 trillion dollars (compared to wages going from 40,711.61 to 55,628.60 per the SSA). As the above data shows, Obamacare failed its stated objective. The central problem with Obamacare was that the medical industry are the largest lobby in congress. Because of this, they were able to craft Obamacare to benefit their industry and thereby remove each provision that would have achieved the stated goal of the Affordable Health Care Act and instead left us with a variety of highly problematic federal regulations.
•The pharmaceutical industry is the largest sponsor of the mainstream media. For this reason, they prevent stories critical of pharmaceutical products from being aired and regularly have stories promoting pharmaceuticals to be aired. Likewise, they will relentlessly attack anything that opposes mainstream pharmaceutical positions (frequently “cancelling” it by labeling it unscientific and without evidence). During COVID-19 this trend has accelerated following the Biden administration dispensing 1 billion dollars to news outlets across the political spectrum in return for positive coverage of the vaccine. I do not know of any past precedent for that occurring.
Many journalists have complained about their inability to criticize dangerous pharmaceutical products, and to my knowledge, Tucker Carlson is the only individual with a mainstream platform who has (occasionally) spoken out against the industry. In recent times Big Tech and Big Pharma (who during Obama’s presidency became the core sponsors of the Democrat Party) have financially merged with each other, and like the media Big Tech now has a similar commercial interest in protecting Big Pharma’s monopoly.
•Most medical journals are primarily funded by pharmaceutical companies. Because of this, there is a strong bias to publish questionable industry sponsored trials. Conversely is also a strong bias to not publish data supporting alternative therapies that challenge their sponsors (the earliest example of this being explicitly detailed can be found within the 2001 book Heart Frauds but I am sure many earlier ones exist). As many of you have noticed, this publication bias has gone into overdrive throughout COVID-19.
•”Large randomized double blind studies” are typically considered to be the best form of evidence, and many individuals will reflexively dismiss a study unless it fulfills that criteria. The problem is that these types of studies are immensely expensive to do, and in most cases can only be done if a pharmaceutical company sponsors them.
As you might expect, numerous studies have shown that when pharmaceutical studies are compared to noncommercial studies, industry studies tend to greatly overestimate the benefits of a drug and understate its harms. This is due to them having a large number of (fraudulent) tricks to create the “scientific” outcome they want. One of the best known recent examples concerned an article in the BMJ discussing a whistleblower who provided proof widespread fraud occurred during Pfizer’s vaccine trials.
While a small benefit can be attributed to the placebo effect (hence suggesting the need for a “placebo controlled trial), in most cases, the bias that emerges from the inherent conflict of interest in a pharmaceutically sponsored trial greatly exceeds the placebo effect. This is extremely important to understand, but rarely understood.
Even in non-blinded studies where a large magnitude of benefit is found (which greatly exceeds any possible placebo effect) those results are typically ignored or dismissed in favor of corporate sponsored research. A sad reality with many scientific publications is that if you read the author conflict of interest disclosures (which intentionally omit key details) and see who sponsored the study of the study, you can typically predict most of what will be written within the publication.
•Most researchers and academic institutions are extremely short on money. Because of this, they are forced to accept pharmaceutical money for any type of research they want to do, and in most cases not ask questions that will upset their sponsors (and even when honest researchers exist, administrators directly concerned with institutional finances will keep them in line). To a lesser extent, they can also function through grants, but as detailed in “The Real Anthony Faucci” the grant system has been compromised so only researchers who support the mainstream narratives (and have not opposed Anthony Fauci) can get grants. Many respected scientists I have learned a great deal from, believe the corruption of the grant system, which Fauci is largely responsible for, has prevented American science for developing innovative scientific discoveries that were frequently developed in the past.
•In many cases, guideline committees are composed of individuals who have a direct financial conflict of interest over the guidelines they are promoting. The Lyme disease lawsuit for instance was filed on this basis. Malcom Kendrick an English physician who has done an excellent job illustrating many of the scams conducted by the pharmaceutical industry provided one of the best examples for this concept in his book Doctoring Data.
Many physicians are of the opinion statins (which lower cholesterol) have minimal benefit in preventing heart disease, but expose patients to frequent and significant adverse effects. Since statins were put on the market, guideline committees have continually lowered the acceptable blood levels of cholesterol, thereby significantly increasing the pool of people who could take statins (leading to the situation that on almost any medical board examination, the correct answer is almost always “give the patient a statin”).
Kendrick’s specific example was that on the guideline committee responsible for determining who needed to receive statins in the United States, every single person who was on the committee (except the chair who was legally barred from it) had a financial conflicts of interest with statin manufacturers. As you might guess, one of the quality metrics administrators have held meetings I was forced to attend regarded insufficient numbers of eligible patients receiving statin therapy.
•One of Fauci’s major achievements was turning the NIH and NIAID into pharmaceutical production pipelines. This was largely accomplished by making federal officials who were involved with the discovery or development of a pharmaceutical that went to market receive royalties for the drug once it was approved that often vastly exceed their salary.
As a result, there is an inherent conflict of interest to push unsafe or ineffective pharmaceuticals through the regulatory process. This frequently happens, whereas non-commercial enterprises focused on public good can almost never receive approval for a medication.
One of the most interesting aspects of this scheme (detailed in the Real Anthony Fauci) was that Fauci developed a large network of principle investigators (PI’s are needed to run clinical trials) who hold significant sway in getting IRBs around the country to approve ethically questionable trials needed to get unsafe drugs to market. The Real Anthony Fauci also discusses the retaliation faced by honest regulators who raise objections to problems with those trials.
•Lastly, physicians in everyday practice are remarkably susceptible to being bribed, and a cornerstone of the pharmaceutical industry is sending sales reps to convince physicians to prescribe their medications. A small number of physicians refuse to see reps under any circumstances as they feel it is immoral for their own financial self interest to influence their treatment of patients. Typically however, pharmaceutical reps are remarkably effective at accomplishing their goal of selling their chosen medication and many academic physicians who widely promote pharmaceutical products receive immense payouts for doing so.
COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines
At the start of COVID-19, the WHO made the curious announcement that Remdesivir would be the standard of care for COVID-19, despite almost no evidence existing to support this decision. After finding out the drug was a nonspecific viral RNA polymerase inhibitor, I became worried it would likely be somewhat toxic to cells, as broad spectrum antivirals tend to overlap with chemotherapy drugs (AZT being one example).
My initial suspicion was that Remdesivir would also affect cellular RNA polymerases (the classic example you learn in medical school are poisonous wild mushrooms triggering organ failure through this mechanism). As I began hearing of reports of organ failure near the start of the pandemic from physicians in China, I prayed we would not see a repeat of AZT. Since that time, significant evidence against Remdesivir has been uncovered suggesting it should have never been brought to market and to some extent, it like AZT, it appears Remdesivir has killed a lot of Americans.
As I observed the trajectory COVID-19 was headed in, I formed the hypothesis that a new lucrative drug needed to be put onto the market which could be theoretically argued to treat COVID-19 (“remdesivir most work since it is a non-specific viral RNA polymerase inhibitor”) but in reality would not be effective and instead would worsen and prolong the pandemic. I suspected this strategy would be adopted since the profit from selling the drug could be channeled into keeping effective therapies off the market long enough for vaccines to enter the market. This sadly appears to be what exactly happened once the COVID-19 Treatment Guidelines Panel of the NIH made Remdesvir the standard of care for COVID-19.