THE SCENE: Pat and Alicia, two young mothers living in SW Minnesota, meet at the supermarket. ALICIA SEEMS DEPRESSED.
ALICA: Hello....., PAT..
PAT: Hi Alicia, how’s the family?
ALICIA: Oh, they’re fine.... Only... never mind...
PAT: So how’s the family, REALLY???
ALICIA: About the same as always. Never enough time to do fun things, even if we had the money to do it. Sara’s been sick with the flu, Kari has this persistent cough, Carl’s got emotional stuff going on at school and can’t keep his mind on his school work, and you probably heard that Andy has been sick the past two weeks, so we’ve missed a few paychecks. Somehow I thought that ObamaCare would take care of our health care bills and give us a chance to get ahead. All we got from that was a high deductible health insurance policy. Now we have these expensive health care insurance premiums to pay every month, and we STILL have to pay all the deductibles out of our own pocket. I don’t know that we’re a bit further ahead. I just WISH there were a better way to stay healthy than being nibbled to death with the prescription bills and the medical expense. I wish we could be REALLY HEALTHY and feel like living instead of just slogging through one day after the next. I wish there were a better way....
PAT: It’s good to have a health insurance policy so that if you break a leg, they step in and take care of the big hospital bills. How much is your deductible?
ALICIA: For the whole family, it’s $4,000 per year. It gets spent on doctor’s bills and drugs; as I said, the little things just keep nibbling away, right out of pocket. We actually don’t GET much insurance help, most years. A funny thing-- Andy and I bought this expensive insurance but we STILL pay for our health care needs, out of our own pockets! Heck, why even BUY insurance if it doesn’t help to pay your bills. Have you found any better way?
PAT: Well, actually Loren and I and the kids are getting along pretty well; We have a policy with a high deductible too, but two years ago we decided to do something better with it. Our insurance company allows us to have a HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT-- they even provided a debit card to use with it. Blue Cross Blue Shield will do that, other companies may have it too. You put money into this HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT, draw on it as you need it to pay for your miscellaneous health care expenses. If you don’t spend it all in one year, it carries over into the next year. It’s cool!
ALICIA: But Pat, what’s the DIFFERENCE? One way you put your money into this HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT and spend it little by little, that way. The other way, you just pay the bills as they come in. How does a HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT help you to get ahead?
PAT: Alicia, With the HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT, you have a lot more leeway in how you can actually SPEND your money. If you live in Minnesota, you can go to
http://www.mnhealthnetwork.com/files/Eligible%20HSA%20Qualified%20Expenses%20213d.pdf to get a list of SOME of the expenses which your HSA will pay for.
Among them are healing services, laboratory tests, over the counter medical care, psychotherapy, and much more. Actually, Loren and I have used our HSA debit card for a wide variety of healthcare expenses. If we felt it was justifiable for our health, we do it. We try to be honest and ethical, but it’s probably not very likely that the tax people will actually contest a claim that we feel is reasonable.
ALICIA: So, you have MORE CHOICES in how you spend your deductible dollars. You can make the choices that you feel are best for you and your family? But what OTHER choices do you actually have if you live in a small town like Tracy? There’s the Tracy Area Medical Clinic, run by Sanford, with MD’s and PA’s who have the usual medical school training, but who ELSE? Aren’t they the ONLY GAME IN TOWN?
PAT: There’s the Helping To Heal clinic, down on 3rd Street... Have you ever been there?
ALICIA: I walk by there all the time on my way to get my hair done or to go to the post office, but I’ve never stopped in. What do they do there?
PAT: My neighbor works there. It was started 15 years ago by a PhD physics professor who was dissatisfied with the few choices available for his own health care, so he decided to retrain himself, joined with others, and it’s been going ever since! Their emphasis is on PREVENTION. “Dr. Chuck”, as he calls himself, has training in vitamins and nutrition, in the healing of body pain generally, especially lower back pain. He’s also trained in hypnosis, which is helpful for infertility, migraines and much more. And, he’s trained in the safe removal of mercury, which can come from dental fillings and vaccines. He uses bioenergetic healing, such as “Chee Kung”, for many different conditions, including infertility. He has treated patients with brain cancer, breast cancer, and liver cancer. One of his colleagues is a “master” in EFT (Emotional Freedom Techniques, for treatment of emotional/physical conditions) and in NLP (Neurolinguistic Programming). She is currently living in Australia, and has become internationally known for her work with women and children displaced by war in the Middle East. He and four other colleagues (a science teacher, a nurse, a high school counselor and a chiropractor) are now developing their skills in a new therapy called BODYTALK, which emerged from Australia about 15 years ago. Currently they’re treating patents on a purely DONATION basis as they sharpen their skills. They work with patients 7 days a week, as needed. Roger, the high school science teacher, may be specializing in helping kids with their issues. Sometimes children’s problems are because of school, sometimes because of other kids, sometimes because of their parents. You might like to know that some of the staff have also worked with kids who are not doing well in school. Actually, when Dr. Chuck was a physics prof at SMSU in Marshall years ago, he led some early research on better ways of learning, even on increasing general intelligence. You can read about that early work at https://grasshopperx.com/dr-charles-p-reinert’s-study-on-image-streaming-and-iq/ or at http://howtobecomesmarter.org/image-streaming/ . These early studies suggest that regular practice of a simple “visual imagery” technique can increase intelligence by some measures. In addition to this approach, Dr. Chuck feels it’s wise to use techniques like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) to get rid of emotional blocks to the learning process. These blocks may be present due to the student’s life with his/her parents, friends, bullies, and the like. EFT is safe, apparently free from side effects, and easy for the student to use himself for many issues.
ALICIA: I’ve heard about BODYTALK. According to the ads I’ve seen in the papers and on Facebook, (www.facebook.com/whennothingelseworks), BODYTALK doesn’t use medications, no surgery, virtually zero physical touching.
PAT: Yes, the theory is that the body knows how to “FIX” just about anything that’s wrong with it, provided it is AWARE of the problem. Sometimes a BT practitioner will compare the human body to a big 50 story building, with lots of water fountains, bathrooms, copiers, heating and A/C. Somewhere in that building is a Security guy, who is watching a roomful of TV monitors to be sure that everything is working right, and that there is nothing overflowing or catching afire. That’s fine, so long as the guard is watchful. However, if he falls asleep and doesn’t catch the lighted cigarette that falls into a wastebasket, there could be big trouble...!
ALICIA: Do you mean to say that if my body had really been AWARE of all that was going on, then it might have caught my breast cancer EARLY and got rid of those few pesky cells before they became big trouble, with surgery and chemo. It might have even KILLED ME! I’ve been fighting breast cancer for five years and it’s still not over!
PAT: Alicia, that’s the idea....
ALICIA: What about Alzheimer’s, dementia, and just growing older? Do the Helping to Heal people know anything about that?
PAT: Dr. Chuck could teach you a few things about Alzheimer’s. For one thing, it may be associated with poor nighttime sleep. If you don’t sleep well at night, your brain’s cerebral spinal fluid can’t do a good job of removing waste products from the brain, as it’s supposed to do. Buildup of waste naturally produced by the cells’ metabolism means a FOGGY brain in the morning. If that becomes a habit, dementia may be just around the corner. There are ways to improve sleep, above and beyond just purchasing a CPAP machine. OH, and you mentioned ‘growing older’. Did you know that there’s an herbal supplement, not very expensive, that seems to be ANTI-AGING. It’s made of 5 common medicinal herbs, some of which have been used in medicine for as much as 4,000 years. I use it myself, and I have to admit I feel wonderful, and scarcely ever get sick or have a cold! And, I sleep better and have much more energy! This herbal may prevent buildup of cholesterol deposits in the arteries, too, thereby preventing the need for bypass surgery. You won’t learn about that from your regular doc!
ALICIA: I’m impressed. I want to meet the staff! But getting back to the $3,000 deductible we use to pay most of our health care, ‘cuz we hardly ever MEET that deductible, what do we do if we DON’T have a Health Savings Account?
PAT: There are two possibilities that I can think of:
* First, think about changing to a policy that DOES allow the use of a Health Savings Account. Blue Cross Blue Shield has several.
* A second option comes from a story Dr. Chuck told me a few days ago. He was speaking with Roger, a long time client. (Dr. Chuck seldom spends less than an hour with his patients-- how else can he get to know them?) He asked Roger, “How often do you REALLY spend so much on your deductibles that your health insurance actually KICKS IN?” Roger thought for a moment, “Maybe 1 year out of 8....!” “So, 7 years out of 8 you’re paying for your own health care, out of pocket???” Roger nodded, not feeling very good about it. “Maybe it’s time that you decided to get a whole lot more benefit for your deductible expenditures, by choosing a type of health care that might really be good for you. It often seems that the usual medical clinic only offers the “usual” remedies-- antibiotics and surgery. Maybe there are better, less expensive ways to stay healthy, WITHOUT the antibiotics, without the side effects of prescription meds, without the band-aid approach that most medical clinics seem to use. Do they really have YOUR HEALTH CARE uppermost in mind? Do they really emphasize PREVENTION to help you stay healthy? OR are they simply trying to keep you on as a patient, to keep the revenue stream coming in???”
ALICIA: What you say makes sense. I’ll talk to my husband about it. Maybe I can change his mind!
PAT: Hey, what’re you and Andy doing Monday night May 4th, 2015? There’s a meetup in the Community Classroom, second floor of the Helping to Heal building. Demonstrations, opportunity for questions, opportunity to meet Dr. Chuck and some of the staff. They’re asking a five buck donation, dirt cheap for all the info you get!
ALICIA: I WILL BE THERE!