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Clyde Lewis | December 18, 2019
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I attended a movie the other day and as I was watching it I could hear people with deep-throated coughs hacking throughout the film.  You have heard these coughs.  They sound painful and we can also hear the struggle of trying to bring up the phlegm.

If you think that is gross, imagine hearing it. 

There are ads before the movie telling you to silence your cell phones but old man Lucas coughing up mucus is just as distracting, if not painful to listen to.

The reason is we have all been there and some of us are there now.

It is the winter season and hearing the sniffles and coughs are part of the routine.

However, the media would have you believe that you will die if you don’t get a flu shot.

I have been hearing about schools shutting down because teachers and students have been coming down with these flu-like symptoms and in a panic school administrations are closing because of it.

And yet, I have been told that flu shots work and that vaccines given to kids help them get through the year without a sneeze.

We know that is not true.  We know that the pharmaceutical companies are lying to us but to say so makes you a pariah, maligned by those who believe that everyone should be stabbed for the benefit of the drug pimps pushing their agendas.

How does the world’s wealthiest democracy fail to get health right? Health is supposed to one of our county’s highest values. How, in the land of freedom and opportunity, did health become another feature in the hierarchies of social class?

While I am not about to give you some speech about how we should all demand a better healthcare package from the government – I am going to talk about a bit of hypocrisy that I see going on and how I am noticing a disconnect with what real diseases we should focus on and how to keep the CDC and other health organizations honest.

I have talked about the conspiracy theory linked to the pharmaceutical industry and how there are certain diseases that are not really fatal and yet we are told that we need the latest drug or vaccination in order to combat it. 

New and emerging diseases seem to generate some underlying panic brought on by political and economic design. The plagues, pandemics and even the proposed mass inoculations are connected to money-generating operations. These plagues seem to be self-induced. Reported for the fear factor, and resolved by government by creating more laws, and more provisions that will take away your freedoms.

There are diseases that for political reasons often get more attention than others.

We already know that Americans on average are not the healthiest of people. Endless statistics tell us that our life expectancy and our rates of chronic disease lag behind our peer countries.

There are many reasons as to why.

Those with less — less education, less income, less power, in lower-class jobs, and in the least desirable neighborhoods — health is even worse.

The sad thing is that now as an American you die earlier and spend more time disabled than a member of most other advanced countries.

A new study shows that middle-aged whites are living shorter and shorter lives. The cause is simply chronic economic insecurity and the epidemic of pain, suicide, and drug overdoses.

This has triggered knee jerk r responses from the DEA and even doctors to cut back on opiod prescriptions when the true reason for many of these overdoses is despair and not finding comfort with anything in life.

Rather than improving America’s way of life, authorities believe that maybe they can overprice treatments and demand compliance with getting vaccinations they don’t need and taking antibiotics that make them less resistant to bacterial infections.

Every year at this time we hear about the flu and how it is killing people.   Of course, the pharmaceutical companies use the media to scare you into getting the flu shot with the dear of death hanging over your head and most people will stand in line to get the shot despite the side effects.

Many Americans are not aware that there is a National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program for those who have been injured by flu shots and other vaccinations. This is why Donald Trump and many others are opposed to mandatory vaccinations, especially for “The Flu” which isn’t usually fatal.

As of last year, over $4 billion had been paid out for vaccine injuries and deaths:

A Dec. 1, 2018 update by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration on the federal Vaccine Injury Compensation Program reported that the total amount of awards to children and adults who have been injured or died after receiving federally recommended childhood vaccines has surpassed $4 billion.

The National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program was created by Congress under the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act of 1986 as a federal compensation system alternative to vaccine injury lawsuits filed in civil court.

According to an article published in Fair Warning, almost no media attention has been given to payouts made to vaccine victims by the government, which are adjudicated in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims also known as “Vaccine Court”.

 Fair Warning points out that one of the reasons that the “Vaccine Court” works in relative obscurity is because public health officials maintain that “vaccines provide vast public health benefits” and are reluctant to talk about vaccine casualties for fear that publicity about vaccine injury compensation awards would dissuade the public from getting vaccinated.

The Health Resources and Services Administration report reveals that over the past 30 years (since 1989), the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has received 20,123 petitions claiming vaccine injury and death, out of which 18,000 claims have been resolved. Of those 17,576 cases, 6,313 cases (about two out of three claims) have received compensation awards via settlements or judgments.1 2 Nevertheless, HRSA does not acknowledge that vaccine injuries are rare and estimates that one person has been compensated for every million doses distributed in the United States.

 However, Health Resources and Services Administration fails to acknowledge that there is no mechanism for measuring how many injuries and deaths after vaccination have occurred but have never been reported.

The issue at hand is that the number of petitions to the Vaccine Injury Compensation Program has dramatically increased over the last few years. Approximately $1 billion (a quarter of the total amount of payout since 1989) has been given out to vaccine-injured victims in just the last four years.

Now, one would think that when political leaders oppose ideas that produce health, well-being, and shared prosperity, good people might revolt.

But sadly people don’t.

It’s rare when people make demands on government to satisfy their needs, and usually, it is those whose needs are already satisfied.

And of course, the media never makes real health concerns a priority – they are just merely a mouthpiece for the Pharmaceutical companies as they are their biggest sponsors.

Take a moment and watch CNN and notice how many new and poorly tested pharmaceuticals are advertised at any given moment.

Notice how any health story they cover is to benefit the agenda of vaccines and epidemic scares – making every little disease a gateway to a bigger disease that can kill you.

Then comes the media’s way of hiring spokespeople that offer endless differences of opinion. No one takes a moment to make a stand – they merely focus on the pill or shot that can be used to somehow be the panacea for everything.

It is a political thing and we are now learning that politics are killing us and none of the politicians you are backing in the impeachment circus could care less about you and their inaction is killing people every day.

The CDC will tell you that there is an epidemic of either the flu or Ebola or something else and many people are seeing it as a government organization with an agenda crying wolf.

The term “epidemic” derives from the Greek “epi” meaning “about” or “upon,” and “demos,” meaning “of the people.” The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines an epidemic as “an increase, often sudden, in the number of cases of disease above what is normally expected in that population in that area.”

The characteristic of urgency has also been attached to the term. For example, Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines an epidemic as “an urgent or pressing need.”

Historically, epidemics have been caused by infectious agents. For example, Ebola and influenza are classic epidemics caused by viruses. But the opioid epidemic is caused by a medication, where dependence and addiction need to be defined –and caution and information should be found about the dangers of overdose.

Beyond agency, popular usage also includes time, virulence and rapidity of spread. From 2014-2016, the Ebola epidemic infected approximately 3,800 people in Guinea and killed over 60 percent of those infected. The 2014-2015 flu epidemic was estimated to have infected 34 million people and killed 56,000. Deaths attributable to opioid overdoses accounted for 400,000 deaths in the U.S. between 1999-2017.

These statistics are often reported in the media with no solutions only with the agenda of vaccination—which benefits pharmaceutical sponsors and contributors to political campaigns.

However, I want to talk about what the CDC has called an epidemic but seems to not be taken seriously by anyone because of prejudice and wanton shaming.



The Holidays of course always have me thinking of my weight problem and how in the back of my mind I worry about getting another year older and how my weight is something that can kill me over time – maybe, faster than I realize.

I am back to dieting again and I am having success again with using supplements and eating a Lean and Green diet.

However, I have to say that when I kept asking my doctor what I could do to improve my health – his answer was always diet. In fact, he suggests a 600 calorie a day diet.

I thought that this was unreasonable.  When I asked if there was any particular drug I could take to give me a head start he referred me to the diabetic doctor who wanted to list be as diabetic so I could have my insurance cover Trulicity, which allegedly helps patients down a minuscule 20 pounds.

There have been others that have suggested I get Bariatric surgery.  I have declined because after my cancer surgery – Doctors had to use a mesh to hold my insides together. My insurance will not cover any obesity treatments because they see it as a vanity issue – not a health issue – and yet obesity is an epidemic and no one finds it politically necessary to make it an imperative to treat people or even cover other treatments through insurance.

So now it is back to dieting – I know I can do it; it is just discipline and mind over matter and behavioral changes.

While I have no problem with this – there were mitigating factors that contributed to my weight gain after my cancer surgery that could have been helped with medication but it seems that insurance companies see being fat comparable to erectile dysfunction.

Obesity, a chronic disease, is held to a different standard, despite meeting most of the criteria popularly associated with other epidemics. Obesity affects 70 million adults and 14 million 2-19 year-olds in the United States, and nearly two billion people worldwide.

Almost 300,000 deaths annually in the U.S. are caused by obesity, well in excess of the number of deaths attributed to Ebola, recent epidemics of influenza or opioid overdoses. Obesity, therefore, meets the criteria of prevalence and lethality.

But the progression of the epidemic and the development of the consequences of obesity have been insidious, and have therefore generated less urgency. Until 1976-1980, the prevalence of obesity in the population was stable at approximately 15 percent in adults. But by 2015-2016, it had increased to almost 40 percent among men and women. Furthermore, the lethal effects of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases associated with obesity take time to appear.

Agency bias and the dispute over what constitutes a disease have contributed to the reluctance to see obesity as an epidemic and respond to it with the urgency that has characterized our response to other epidemics. In contrast to Ebola, influenza, and opioids, obesity is not caused by a single agent, but by multiple environmental factors that reduce physical activity and increase caloric intake.

Despite the recognition that almost no one decides to develop obesity, many blame people with obesity for their disease and consider people with obesity as lazy, unmotivated, sloppy, gluttonous and undisciplined. At its most fundamental, a disease is a state of ill health. Obesity certainly qualifies — it affects every system of the body, and is associated with diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancers, and over 240 other co-morbidities. Although in 2013 the American Medical Association declared that obesity is a disease, obesity is still widely perceived as a personal failing.

I can’t count how many times I have been shamed online by listeners for being fat.  I have been told to stay away from the cheeseburgers or move away from the table or some other put down for being overweight –and even when I say that kidney cancer cursed me with water weight – I always hear that cancer should have thinned me down not fattened me up.

While I know that lifestyle, such as being sedentary adds to my problem, I have found that I have to drop more water weight because if I don’t I become a fatal risk.

It is tough but not something I am not giving upon.

However, I have always thought that if obesity is such an epidemic and if it kills more people than the flu – then why am I told to get a flu shot—when they don’t work –and why to those who are fat have to suffer because inconsiderate people see being fat or obese a moral failing when it most certainly isn’t.

The prevalence of obesity, and its continued spread and lethal effects, clearly exceed those of recent epidemics like Ebola, influenza, and opioids, and must be addressed with the same commitment of resources with which we address other epidemics.

For example, Congress allocated over $7 billion in 2018 to combat the opioid epidemic, and yet treatment for comprehensive treatment for obesity is not reimbursed by Medicare. Congress can start by passing the bipartisan 2019 Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which will expand evidenced-based obesity coverage for Medicare beneficiaries. Passage of the bill would signal that Congress has begun to take obesity seriously.

But as with other epidemics, we must also invest in prevention. Policy initiatives should include increased support for community infrastructure that supports physical activities like walking and biking in the transportation bill, implementing pricing strategies that decrease consumption of ultra-processed foods putting health labels on sugary drinks.

Eating better costs more vegetables and leaner meats are not cost-effective and so people are forced to eat bad foods and ultra-processed foods.

The American Medical Association has officially recognized obesity as a disease and yet there are so many things in our world that contribute to it.

The question of whether obesity is a disease or not is a semantic one since there is not even a universally agreed-upon definition of what constitutes a disease. 

The American Medical Association is not a real legal authority that people pay attention to.

However, there needs to be insurance reimbursement for obesity drugs, surgery, and counseling.

Two new obesity drugs, Qsymia from Vivus, and Belviq from Arena Pharmaceuticals and Eisai, have entered the market in the last year.

Qsymia has not sold well for a variety of reasons, including poor reimbursement and distribution restrictions imposed because of concerns that the drug can cause birth defects. Those restrictions are now being relaxed. Belviq went on sale only about a week ago, so it is too early to tell how it is doing.

Ospempic and Trulicity are diabetic drugs that cause weight loss but are not recommended for weight loss.

The Internal Revenue Service has said that obesity treatments can qualify for tax deductions. In 2004, Medicare removed language from its coverage manual saying obesity was not a disease.

Still, Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit, includes weight loss drugs among those it will not pay for, along with drugs for hair growth and erectile dysfunction.

However, there are still arguments against calling obesity a disease.

The Council on Science and Public Health, which had studied the issue, said that obesity should not be considered a disease mainly because the measure usually used to define obesity, the body mass index, is simplistic and flawed.

Some people with a B.M.I. above the level that usually defines obesity are perfectly healthy while others below it can have dangerous levels of body fat and metabolic problems associated with obesity.

If the world were to take the epidemic of obesity seriously it would reduce the stigma of obesity that stems from the widespread perception that it is simply the result of eating too much or exercising too little. Some doctors say that people do not have full control over their weight.

Supporters of the disease classification also say it fits some medical criteria of a disease, such as impairing body function.

Those arguing against it say that there are no specific symptoms associated with it and that it is more a risk factor for other conditions than a disease in its own right.

They also say that “medicalizing” obesity by declaring it a disease would define one-third of Americans as being ill and could lead to more reliance on costly drugs and surgery rather than lifestyle changes. Some people might be over-treated because their B.M.I. was above a line designating them as having a disease, even though they were healthy.

According to recent health findings, 36 percent of all Americans are considered to be obese, and it is being projected that by 2030 that number will rise to 42 percent. Overall life expectancy has dropped for white Americans who have less than a high school diploma to rates similar to those of the 1950s and 1960s, new research finds. The study found non-Hispanic white men without a diploma lived on average until 67.5 in 2008, three years less than they did in 1990. The drop in lifespan was even bigger for non-Hispanic white women with low education: They live five years shorter than 1990 rates, from 78 years old to just 73.5.

In America, we say that we are healthier than those in other nations. We also are of the opinion that we make educated choices about fitness and lifestyle and yet we still see the decline of life.

Regardless of who is politically responsible, we are not better off health-wise now and the debate continues over who lives and who dies.


Written by Clyde Lewis

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