Traditional Chinese Medicine & Health Care System Reform
The Holistic Health Movement theory is like traditional medicines. It relies on thousands of years of experience. For example, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) is two thousand years old. TCM practitioners utilize herbs, acupuncture, moxibustion, and cupping to treat disease. Modern medicine's challenges in treating chronic illnesses force societies to reexplore traditional medicine. Unfortunately, some holistic health modalities like TCM are not sufficiently researched. The good news is there are other ways of examining how holistic health interventions affect populations.
One way to assess the healthcare system's performance is excess mortality, life expectancy, and health expenses, a ratio to total consumption expenses (He, 2022). For every additional TCM physician in Chinese urban and rural regions per 100,000 population, a reduction in 1.944 excess deaths, a 5.84-day life expectancy increase, and a decrease of .051% in health expenses was found. A 1% increase in TCM physicians in rural areas resulted in a reduction of 5.097 excess deaths, a 17.52-day uptick in life expectancy, and a decrease of .082% in health expenses (He, 2022). In China, an increase in TMC physicians improved health measures while providing more robust financial protections for the healthcare system. How might excess deaths, life expectancies, and health expenses be affected by increasing the amount of holistic health care providers in the United States?
It is time to examine how adding more holistic health physicians would affect the American health care system. It is possible that increasing TCM providers in the United States would correlate with better physical and mental health outcomes with enhanced economic security for our country. The system must change through healthcare reform. The health care system is failing, impacting older Americans the most (Lazris, 2016). Medicare is designed to pay for more costly aggressive treatments like hospitalization but not for more affordable interventions such as preventative, homecare-based, and palliative methods.
Holistic health choices such as TCM, integrated into the Medicare and Medicaid system, could make a difference. A study titled The Proposed Office of Health Care Affordability Offers Opportunity to Address Rising Costs across Health Care System (2020) found healthcare reform could be highly beneficial. Still, complex solutions are needed to address rapidly rising healthcare costs. 5% of the U.S. GDP was spent on healthcare in 1960. 17.7% of U.S. GDP went to healthcare in 2018, while 24% of spending in the U.S. government was devoted to the healthcare sector (Cummings, 2022). If TCM was more accessible to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, impoverished or ethnic minorities may benefit. Blacks and Hispanics have less income than whites (The U.S. Department of Labor, 2020). Therefore, because holistic healthcare is often not covered under Medicaid and Medicare, minorities may have less access to TCM. It is time for a health care system transformation.
Cummings, B. (2022). Rising Healthcare Costs Are a Rising Concern. Journal of Financial Planning, 35(2), 19–20.
He, P., Zhu, D., Man, X., Bai, Q., Huang, L., Shi, X., & Meng, Q. (2022). Strengthening of Traditional Chinese Medicine in the Health System Reform: Effect on Health Outcomes and Financial Protection. Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine (ECAM), 1–8.
Lazris, A., & Brownlee, S. (2016). Curing Medicare : a doctor's view on how our health care system is failing older Americans and how we can fix it. ILR Press.
Proposed Office of Health Care Affordability Offers Opportunity to Address Rising Costs across Health Care System. (2020, March 9). States News Service.
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