by Amanda Box
As I begin this article, I can’t help but chuckle to myself. In this massive undertaking of incorporating government sanctioned healthcare, lays so much irony. Even the name itself, Affordable Healthcare Act, is far from affordable — for millions of people! Many people will see an increase in their premiums, even if they opt to keep their private insurance.
Because of the newly mandated “essential health benefits,” the government now requires all health insurance carriers to include services that were once optional. The list of 10 essential health benefits includes:
- Outpatient Care
- ER visits
- Pre and Postnatal Care for mother and infant
- Mental Health Services
- Preventative Care
- Pediatric Care (including vision and dental)
- Rehabilitative and habilitative services and devices
Although these may be beneficial services for some, making them mandatory is increasing costs of already “affordable” insurance plans across the country.
Will Obamacare be low-cost? Sure, for some. I believe those with pre-existing conditions may be relieved. Many have not been able to find a private insurer to cover them, let alone give them something they could afford. Punishing “high risk” individuals with high cost insurance, I believe, is a travesty and the fault of greedy insurance companies.
Those who fall into the “perfect” income bracket will be pleasantly surprised, as well. This is defined as those people who make between 100-133% of the federal poverty level. They will get discounted health care through the Affordable Care Act. A friend of mine, and supporter of Obamacare, was raving about how he is only going to have to pay $50 a month for his family of 5. He boasted while saying, “Seems pretty affordable to me!”
The Insurance Gap
However, there is a forgotten group of people in the United States who I believe were greatly anticipating Obamacare. I believe this group is going to be unpleasantly surprised once they realize the devil-in-the-details of this reform.
In 26 states, those whose incomes fall below 100% of the poverty level, who also make too much to qualify for their states Medicaid, will be left with nothing. Well, not exactly nothing.
They are welcome to pay full price for Obamacare or another insurance. Or, they can pay a fine to remain uninsured. These full-priced plans will likely cost them 50% to over 120% of their already tiny income! If their state opted out, there will be no subsidized plans available to them.
The Kaiser Family Foundation says nearly 5 million Americans will fall into this coverage gap because their home states didn’t expand Medicaid. Their incomes are above current Medicaid eligibility, but below the lower limit for federal tax subsidies.
This seems like some kind of cruel joke! Not just because these are the people who could really benefit from some help, but also because these poor people are going to get fined by the federal government because they STILL cannot afford health insurance! How can they leave an entire gap of people with literally no options?
Sometimes, all that will separate people from being insured is a state line. Being a Missouri resident myself, 3 out of the 4 surrounding states expanded their Medicaid to cover the poverty gap. Will people begin relocating so that the can afford insurance for their families? If only a few miles is the difference between paying little to nothing or paying thousands to be insured, then I would guess it’s likely they would move.
Another friend of mine got a quote from Obamacare as their regular insurance was going up dramatically from the new regulations. She and her husband make less than 100% of the federal poverty level. They were flabbergasted to receive a quote that was 115% of their income! They, like millions others, will likely go uninsured as the $700 a year fine is much less than giving away their entire income to health insurance!
I want to make it clear that I’m not a supporting Obamacare, especially as it stands. I would have much rather seen the greedy insurance companies go under more restrictions than see the federal government try and accomplish this massive undertaking.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve watched documentaries like Michael Moore’s Sicko and it did, in fact, leave me feeling “sick.” I became disgusted by the insurance industry in America. But, Moore pointed out government healthcare in other countries like France to be nothing but rosy. America is far from France. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. First of all we are much, much larger making it an enormous undertaking. Also, here in the United States unfortunately, it seems the government runs the people. The citizens no longer seem to have a voice!
In France, if the people protest, the politicians fear. Not so in the United States. We can protest and even “occupy” if we want. But, you’ll likely accomplish nothing. If you’re lucky, you might get a bit of media coverage. And this depends on who owns that particular source of media. There is no such thing as unbiased coverage anymore. America is controlled by government officials and a media who are both pawned by the big interest corporations who line their pockets.
I could go on and on complaining about how unsatisfied I am with the state our country is in and how angry I am about the new healthcare bill. But I’ve come to realize that if I dwell on negativity it does nothing but cause stress. And stress, is the root of 98% of all disease, so why in the world would I want more stress?
Taking Health into Your Own Hands
I believe the best thing at this point, as the bill has already passed, is to take your health into your own hands. The truth is if you’re proactive and practice prevention, you will rarely even need to use your insurance! I personally believe that insurance is great for accidents and even getting a diagnosis. But I’ve come to the conclusion, that outside surgeries and traumatic events, that their are natural alternatives to nearly every chronic and acute condition.
- Arm yourself with knowledge by reading as much as you can on the subjects that are affecting you and your family.
- Seek out natural practitioners in your area.
- Stop going to the doctor for simple issues.
- Invest in a “natural” medicine cabinet.
Information is Power
Information truly is power. If you have heartburn and know nothing about what causes it, how it affects the body physiologically, or how to treat it, then you are left relying completely on your doctor and pharmaceutical drugs. However, if you begin to read about what exactly is heartburn, then the foods that can cause it, and natural remedies to treat it, then you could possibly save yourself thousands in doctors visits and prescription drugs!
Going to the doctor to get a diagnosis isn’t a bad idea. But many times, if the diagnosis isn’t something life threatening, you can easily find natural treatments. And the wonderful thing about treating conditions naturally is that they often cure the problem rather than just suppress the symptoms like many drugs.
There are many websites put together by reputable doctors and practitioners that are available as great resources to help you expand your knowledge. I believe Home Cures That Work is one of the best sources for natural alternatives and cures.
You can also go to amazon.com and stock up on books. One of my favorites is Prescription for Nutritional Healing. It lists hundreds of ailments and the foods and supplements that help treat them. I believe this book should be in every household of those interested in natural remedies.
Finding a Natural Practitioner
Sometimes, people are still unsure about how to proceed to treat an issue naturally even after they’ve read up on the condition. In this case, I recommend finding a natural practitioner in your area. Most major cities are packed full of Naturopaths, Herbalists, and Nutritionists.
If you’re still unsure where to start, then I recommend visiting your local healthfood store. Typically, the employees there will know the most reputable practitioners in the area and can point you in the right direction. You can also search online, browse websites, and even call the practitioners listed to get more info.
Reducing Doctor Visits
How can you reduce visits to the doctor? Stop going to the doctor for simple issues like the common cold. There are so many people who believe they have to visit the doctor every single time they are sick. A doctor cannot do anything about a cold or even the flu and will send you home suggesting you stay hydrated. What’s worse is you’re likely to pick up another infection sitting in the waiting room with all the other sick people!
If you suspect something like strep or pneumonia, then you should absolutely go to the doctor for a culture test. These are bacterial infections that need antibiotics. However, most ear infections, sinus infections, cold, flus, and even bronchitis are viral infections and cannot be cured by any prescription. Your best bet in these situations is to use natural immune boosters and get plenty of fluids and nutrients.
(I am, by no means, advocating never going to the doctor. There are those at higher risks than others that should always visit a doctor when sick. This advice is for otherwise healthy individuals. Please use your best judgment.)
Creating a Natural Medicine Cabinet
One of the best ways to make sure you get well quickly is to have a cabinet stocked full of immunoboosters and everything you’ll need in case you get sick. I know most people keep pain relievers, cold medicines, decongestants, and cough syrups on hand just in case. These drugs may relieve some of the discomfort, but they don’t shorten the duration of your sickness. If this is all you have in your medicine cabinet, then it’s time for a makeover!
I personally stock up on several natural supplements each fall in preparation for the upcoming cold and flu season. Having them in advance is important. You can many times stop a cold or flu before it is full blown if you start taking supplements at the first signs.
You should also be taking appropriate supplements daily to boost your overall health. We are a society that is used to not doing something until we get sick. Yet, we can prevent ourselves from even getting sick if we keep ourselves healthy and balanced.
- A quality multivitamin: Don’t assume all vitamins are equal! Avoid buying cheap ones from the local big box store, as the quality will be cheap as well. Visit your local healthfood store!
- Omega-3s like fish oil: Again, quality is very important. Fish oil can be tainted with toxins so make sure it is third-party tested.
- Vitamin D: This is essential for the fall and winter months when you’re not getting adequate sunlight. Take 35 IU per lb of bodyweight each day to boost killer cell activity and bone density.
- Vitamin C: Essential for the immune system and so many other body functions! Take 500 mg a day. In times of sickness, take 500 mg 4-5 times a day.
Keep these supplements on hand for battling sickness:
- Colloidal silver: A natural antibiotic. Can be used for pink eye, up the nose for sinus infection, gargled for a sore throat, topically for infected skin, and in the ear for ear infections.
- Oil of oregano: Anti-viral, anti parasitic, anti bacterial, anti fungal. Use 3-4 drops 4 times a day to fight an infection.
- Thieves’ essential oil: An oil combination used by thieves who robbed homes during the black plague. This combo is also anti-viral and anti-bacteria. Take 4 drops in water 4 times a day or dilute and rub on the bottoms of your feet. (This is great for kids as they don’t like the taste of most supplements)
The Fate of Your Health
You don’t have to rely on health insurance for your health. Take health into your own hands! Arm yourself with information about natural alternatives, visit a natural practitioner, and stop going to the doctor for minor issues! Begin incorporating natural medicines into your health routine and you will begin to see your own body heal itself.
Don’t let the fate of qualifying for Obamacare decide your health’s fate. Get healthy today and see your dependence on insurance benefits decline. Take advantage of free yearly screenings and watch those screenings improve as you change your habits for the better. Then, you can be another example that healthcare isn’t really about insurance. It’s about a healthy lifestyle.
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Amanda Box is a Traditional Naturopath and a graduate of Clayton College of Natural Health. She’s been in the health and wellness industry for over 12 years and currently practices naturopathic consulting in the Kansas City, Missouri area. Her passion is helping others achieve wellness of the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. If you don’t have a good local naturopathic practitioner to turn to for your personal needs, Amanda does phone consultations! She can help you with weight loss, detox/cleansing, acute and chronic illnesses, skin and body care, grocery shopping, pantry overhauls, and more! Visit her blog “My Life in a Healthnut Shell” at
com/ for contact info.