The 21st Century Cures Act, which was recently introduced into Congress, is the wrong answer for the myriad problems facing medicine today. The bottom line is, we can’t trust pharmaceutical companies, health lobbyists, and the bought-and-paid-for politicians, who are all a big part of the healthcare disaster in America today.
By James Spounias
The 21st Century Cures Act—or the Cures Act for short—rings familiar to the tale of Nero’s fiddle-playing while Rome was burning to the ground. Congress and President Barack Obama, buoyed by a sycophantic media, authorized $6.3 billion to fund “healthcare” that includes lowering safety regulations, building a DNA database, and fighting opioid addiction—all while American healthcare is killing us.
Most of the money, $4.8 billion, will go to the National Institutes of Health (NIC), which was lauded by many health professionals who claim it doesn’t get enough funding.
The House passed its version by a vote of 392 to 26 and the Senate by a vote of 94 to five. President Obama signed the Cures Act on Dec. 13. Yet American healthcare costs are still high, and, to make matters worse, healthwise, Americans rank well below countries that pay much less.
According to a 2014 Commonwealth Fund survey, the U.S. ranks last among 11 wealthy nations in terms of “efficiency, equity, and outcomes.”
There’s also the personal financial sting. A whopping 20% of Americans with credit records, roughly 42.9 million people, have the credit stain of unpaid medical debts, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal agency charged with protecting consumers against creditor abuse. As many as 62.1% of all bankruptcy filings had a medical cause, according to a 2008 study published in The American Journal of Medicine.
Even Obamacare supporters acknowledge that being broke because of medical bills remains a problem, according to a New York Times and Kaiser Family Foundation survey, reported on Jan. 5. The gist of the Times and Kaiser study was, don’t get sick.
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In the midst of this health and environmental nightmare of epic proportions, the Cures Act was portrayed as the finest hour for an otherwise partisan Congress, because the legislation is aimed to help fund cures for “rare” diseases—as if the most significant killers and cripplers have been wiped out.
But a study by Princeton economist Ann Case published Dec. 8 concluded that U.S. life expectancy is in decline for the first time since 1993 because of “major diseases” such as heart disease.
Ms. Case told The Washington Post: “I think we should be very concerned. This is singular. This doesn’t happen.”
While Case’s study showed that life expectancy fell by one-tenth of a year, it’s too soon to see if this is a dark trend downward or an anomaly. Either way, it’s absurd to think that the “big” diseases, such as heart disease and cancer, are under control.
The Cures Act also lessens some of the restrictions on drug approval that pharmaceutical companies face, such as making more use of biomarkers instead of waiting for final results from patient trials. Companies will also be allowed to use smaller trials of patients and to use summaries of data.
Believers in the drug approval process are concerned that safety measures will be compromised, but those who study the current system know FDA approval is a highly politicized process whereby popular drugs, such as Vioxx, are removed from the market only after whistleblowers or litigation reveal top executives knew of dangerous side effects yet hid them during the approval process. Many other dangerous drugs are not withdrawn, but are required to include “black box” warnings on their packaging to alert users to serious or life-threatening side effects. Dr. John Virapen’s classic book titled Side Effects: Death exposed the dirty secrets of big pharma and the promotion of Prozac.
The New York Times wrote on Dec. 7, after cheerleading the bipartisan love-fest that led to the bill’s passage, “One major winner—and a donor to both parties—was the pharmaceutical industry.”
The Times quoted Kim Monk of Capital Alpha Partners, a policy research firm for investors, as saying the Cures Act is a “holiday win for much of the health sector.”
The Cures Act includes no restraints on drug prices, though in light of the widely reported EpiPen price gouging—where the price of this lifesaving drug increased from $100 to $600 nearly overnight back in September—one would think Congress could have at least included a provision they never intended to have enforced.
With the escalation of deadly allergies facing children, likely brought on by the onslaught of GMOs, vaccinations, pesticides, and other environmental assaults, many parents, particularly those who are part of the working class, have suffered a great loss by needing to have one or two sets of EpiPens per child.
Some claim the technology behind the EpiPen forbearer was barely patentable to begin with, because inventors George Calkins and Stanley Sarnoff “acknowledged their ideas were improvements upon work commissioned for the U.S. and UK military emergency needs in the 1960s,” according to CNBC.
The same critics note sales of EpiPen were driven by the U.S. government as its principal buyer, so “the U.S. government has march-in rights to use the technology at a reasonable commercial royalty rate it can set.” Indeed, another drug company sells the same anaphylaxis injectable pen technology to the U.S. government for $50 per unit rather than the $600-plus the public must pay.
We can expect more of this sort of cronyism in the prescription drug racket under the Cures Act, given the long history of collaboration between a bought government and monopolistic medical cartel.
At the turn of the 20th century, the allopathic school of medicine was instituted in medical schools by the Rockefeller family. It eventually became law that only allopathic treatments would be legal, let alone reimbursable by insurance companies, in another action tied to the powers-that-be. Only the deluded believe America has a “free market” healthcare system. This is not to suggest that a single-payer system would be better, only less costly.
Short of massive deregulation and full adoption of so-called “alternative therapies,” which would be allowed to compete against allopathic medicine, we are now over-paying for deadly medicine.
Imagine an America where natural substances could openly compete in the market against big pharma, and you’d see a thriving marketplace driven by those actually seeking to cure disease. Costs would drop and health would improve, but that is not to be.
As for the adulation of the Cures Act funding the NIH, keep this in mind: The mainstream media never told the truth about how the NIH’s Office of Alternative Medicine beat down promising “alternative” therapies.
Dr. Nicholas Gonzales, who successfully treated patients using Dr. William Donald Kelley’s cancer protocol, was initially excited to have NIH examine his treatment. Regrettably, Gonzales wrote, “the study degenerated into a morass of mismanagement, meaningless and manipulated data, the welfare of patients put at risk, and sadly, cover-up of the mismanagement right into the office of Dr. Elias Zerhouni, former NIH director. Repeatedly now we’ve seen the meaningless data of a mismanaged study used in the effort to ‘prove’ my treatment worthless, and undermine my 28 years of hard, determined research.”
Cancer research under the Cures Act calls for a DNA database, where it’s hoped that more than a million people will provide DNA for “research.” Given the establishment’s record of not finding cures, one can imagine how such information, if used for nefarious purposes, could be used against the populace.
The Cures Act and all legislation like it sustain a flawed system that stifles competition, rewards miscreants, and keeps a bloated bureaucracy at work. Nero would be proud.
James Spounias is the president of Carotec Inc., originally founded by renowned radio show host and alternative health expert Tom Valentine. To receive a free issue of “Carotec Health Report”—a monthly newsletter loaded with well-researched and reliable alternative health information—please click here, write to P.O. Box 9919, Naples, FL 34101 or call 1-800-522-4279. Also included will be a list of the high-quality health supplements Carotec recommends.
Excellent article! Thank you for publishing it.