It was the fall of 1991, and Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) was running for President. I sat with him in the Miami living room of my patient Jerry Berlin who from 1984-88 had served as Chairman and chief fundraiser of the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee. Senator Harkin had asked me how including acupuncturists as providers under Medicare could possibly save the US Treasury money, and I told him the following story.
In 1990 the Chinese spent $72 per person on healthcare whereas Americans spent $3200. An example why is the case of my patient Eleanor. She first presented to me as a 60 year old woman suffering from gall stones. She couldn't afford the $6,000 cost of a gall bladder removal and asked if there were anything I could do to help. This is an easy case for someone who practices traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) , and I told her not to worry. I needled the acupuncture point Gall Bladder 34A (Lanwei) and gave her a bottle of the Chinese herbal patent remedy Long Dan Xie Gan Wan and a bottle of Standard Process' liquid PhosFood, which contains a concentrated form of the phosphoric acid found in soft drinks. I then recommended that she follow this protocol for one week:
Take 8 pills of Long Dan Xie Gan Wan three times daily after meals.
Also take a dropperful of PhosFood three times a day. The bottle comes with an eye dropper. Since the phosphoric acid can destroy the enamel on your teeth, be sure to place the dropper at the back of your tongue, and then follow it with a glass of water. Throughout the week drink a good amount of unflitered apple juice.
On the seventh day, fast by eating only citrus fruit and juice. In the evening mix a teaspoonful of Epsom salts with warm water and drink it. Before bedtime, mix 4 ounces of fresh lemon juice with 4 ounces of olive oil and drink it. Then go to sleep laying on your right side. In the morning you will pass many soft green balls with your stool. It's important to follow the protocol. Otherwise the stones will not soften and the lemon juice and olive oil could stimulate the gall bladder to contract and push out jagged stones which could tear and infect the bile duct. Following the protocol you'll have no problems.
Total cost of the treatment including herbs was less than $100. Five years later Eleanor returned to thank me. She informed me that she'd had no problems in the intervening years and had been symptom free. Then, when she turned 65, she went back to her doctor and was able to get her gall bladder removed for free under Medicare.
This, I told Senator Harkin, was the miracle of modern medicine - able for $6000 to heal ailments that no longer existed! He understood only too well the way Western medicine drives up costs. The total cost of gall bladder surgeries that year was $4.5 billion, much of that expense being borne by the federal government. Multiply that by the hundreds of other ailments that are being treated without regard to cost-effectiveness and you have America’s health care financing problem in a nutshell.
Two years later Tom Harkin was still in the Senate, and he invited me to testify on ways to reduce healthcare costs before his Subcommittee on Healthcare Appropriations. That testimony follows hereafter. At that time, in June 1993, I was able to present only seven peer reviewed articles on acupuncture which had appeared in Western medical journals, because that's all that had been published. Since then there have been literally hundreds, 150 of which I present in my book Acupuncture Works - the Proof
available at www.hkacup.com
, and they describe the efficacy of acupuncture in treating 80 different common ailments.
Sorry to say, acupuncturists are still not included as providers under Medicare, American healthcare costs have ballooned to over $8,000 per person per year, the US has $16 trillion in debt, whereas and the Chinese are doing quite well, thank you.
In subsequent articles I'll be writing about ways to take care of your own well being, the best and least expensive approach to live a long, healthy life. Stay tuned.
Harvey Kaltsas, Acupuncture Physician, is a graduate of Amherst College and theNew England School of Acupuncture. He has been in practice since 1975 and co - founded the East West College of Natural Medicine. Dr. Kaltsas is President Emeritus of theAmerican Asssociation of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine and is the only acupuncturists ever to testify before the U.S. Senate. Visit his webpage at HKACUP.Com