A Solution For The “War on Drugs”

Hi. My name is John, and I have experimented with a lot of drugs that affect the mind. No, I am not a drug addict. I have a mental health history, and when I was younger, I wanted to be a doctor who specialized in drugs that affect the mind. I wanted to be a psychiatrist, and one way to learn about drugs that affect the mind is to carefully and methodically test them out.

The first rule when it comes to drugs that affect the mind is never discontinue them abruptly. Bad things will happen. For example, imagine a drug that changes you from sad to happy. You take this drug for a week. If one day you decide to suddenly discontinue, you will feel more sad than if you never took the drug in the first place. This “reverse” effect has different names, but for simplicity’s sake, let’s just call it the withdrawal effect. Good medical doctors do not put patients through the withdrawal effect. They taper people off gradually and use more gradual, longer lasting, extended release or slow release alternatives which are less addictive.

How does this translate into “the war on drugs”? Well first off, if the people who worked in prisons were doctors, they wouldn’t cut people off many of these drugs such as heroine abruptly. They would calculate how much heroine the person has been consuming and give them a gradually decreasing amount of either that opioid or a substitute opioid each day. This technique is valid for virtually any drug that affects the mind.

Here’s the problem. There is a very severe shortage of people who are qualified to do this and their learning in school is not reflective of the learning that they need in order to do this job. There is a multiple months long waitlist to see a psychiatrist in America, and many psychiatrists who went to medical school suck at psychiatry. There are psychiatrists who are less qualified to treat schizophrenia than I am, and I didn’t even go to medical school. Frankly, you don’t actually need to know any bodily anatomy or physiology to treat schizophrenia – if you understand the mind, have personal mental health experiences that can relate to those of your patients, read journals, and have tested out over a dozen different pills and analyzed their effects on the mind, that’s more valuable than all the anatomy and physiology courses in the world in terms of actually doing the job of a psychiatrist.

Now here’s the problem. Most insurances do not cover these treatments fully. I personally have had to pay money out of pocket for a psychiatrist. In another case, I submitted a form to my health insurance company and instead of them paying me the full $100, I got maybe $18 back from the insurance company. There is a wait list and in addition to the wait list, it is relatively expensive. People who are going to prison and also mentally ill homeless people don’t have the means to get ahold of good professional treatment.

Much of psychiatry isn’t really medicine in the traditional sense. Like to me, most mental conditions are not really medical diseases. They are just deviations from what is mentally the norm or the average in the population. Deviations from the norm are normal in populations. There are all sorts of mental differences in the population. These mental differences are only considered a disease that needs to be treated when they become a problem. Some people have minds that might be very abnormal, but they do just fine, so they’re not treated.

Think about human height. Some people are really short. Some people are really tall. Being super short isn’t a problem until you need to dunk a basketball. Then all of a sudden being short becomes a problem. Then you admit that you have a problem and that you need stilts to get the basketball into the hoop. Mental disabilities are kind of like that. They’re not really diseases in the way the common cold is a disease. It doesn’t really make sense to categorize mental conditions or abnormalities as diseases. A psychiatrist once told me that he only uses the manual of mental disorders for billing purposes for health insurance companies. It doesn’t really make sense to give mental conditions or irregularities numerical codes like the codes that are given for medical procedure billing purposes. Codes aren’t made for patients – they are made for health insurance companies. In fact, I would argue that the medical system as a whole is not made to cater to the patients – it is made in such a way as to cater to the health insurance companies. From a business perspective, the patients are not the customer – the health insurance companies are the customer.

Basically, the mental healthcare system in the United States is fundamentally fucked up. There aren’t even prices that I can look at before I get billed for something that I ask my doctor for despite the fact that the money is coming out of my checking account. The American healthcare system as a whole has serious issues, with the mental healthcare system being particularly fucked up. If the system is done right, there will be huge improvements for vulnerable people like drug addicts and mentally ill homeless people. A system done right can make a huge difference for the end customer – the citizen.

The John Reed Healthcare Plan

In this article, I will describe my healthcare plan for America. The plan will revolve around reducing cost and increasing care for all Americans. Its effectiveness will be measured via benchmarking the health of Americans and measuring costs, and the plan will be adjusted as needed to maximize effectiveness.

This is my idea. Right now, eligibility of healthcare services for the poor is dependent on the poverty level (ex. 133% of poverty level), and the US poverty level in 2018 is $12,140 for one individual according to this site:

We will gradually increase how poor you have to be to be eligible for services such as Medicaid and we will improve existing services. We will reduce costs by providing free preventive care and screenings that will prevent costly emergency room visits. Medically necessary things will be heavily subsidized by the government through the taxpayers. In addition, we will provide a safety net to protect people in case of economic crashes or catastrophes.

Right now, the poorest of the poor are lone, single people who are too poor to afford a place to live. These people beg on the streets and sleep on benches, under bridges, on grassy elevated hills, in sleeping bags, and even in tents. One (rather convoluted) way for these people to receive benefits is to get a PO Box from the United States Post Office (USPS), get their proof of identity or citizenship (ex. ID, Driver’s License, Birth Certificate, Certificate of Birth Abroad, or Passport), get their proof of past income, and apply for Social Security disability benefits and opt to have their disability check mailed to their PO box, then re-use that same PO box for Medicaid and SNAP (Food Stamps). That way they can get their benefits without having a home address.

This is incredibly convoluted and results in people not getting their benefits. Having a PO box is helpful for all people because it can hide one’s home address (for example in the case of stalking) and it separates the address where one receives their benefits from the address that they live in. By having a PO box that is separate from a home address and receiving benefits at the PO box, it is possible for people to keep receiving their benefits even after they lose their house. This is helpful in cases of an economic crashes or catastrophes. As part of the safety net program, I want all people below the poverty line to be eligible for a free small sized PO box and be able to receive their benefits at this PO box so that their benefits would not be tied to having a home address. In addition, I would like to gradually raise how poor one has to be in order to be eligible for benefits. Finally, I have a plan for illegal immigrants.

I feel that some Republicans have this notion that an illegal immigrant can just walk up to the government and say “Hi. I am an illegal alien and I have no proof of identity or citizenship. Can you give me free benefits?” and expect the government to give them benefits. This is not the case. In fact, in some states, under the law, they can even get deported. The problem with this is that because they don’t get things like Medicaid, they have to go to the Emergency Room of a public hospital instead of getting preventive care. This actually increases healthcare related costs because the ER is very expensive. Under my plan, I will reduce healthcare costs by giving everyone cost saving preventive care and I will benchmark and create metrics to measure healthcare outcomes and costs to produce the best, most efficient possible healthcare system. Right now, America has the world’s most expensive, least financially efficient healthcare system and my plan is to change that. We will no longer have the highest medical bills of any country in the world, and I have a plan to control bills as well.

In most US industries, it is illegal to charge one customer a certain price for a good and then charge another customer a different price for another instance of that same good. Imagine that you walked into a grocery store and the person in front of you was charged a quarter for a piece of fruit and then your were charged ten dollars for that same piece of fruit. That would be an outrage! Well that’s how medical billing in America works. The same item, procedure, or service costs different amounts of money depending on who is paying for it. In addition, it is impossible to compare prices because there is no way for people to look up how much a given medical item, procedure, or service costs ahead of time. Basically, it is easy for providers of these medical items, services, or procedures to totally rip people off and get away with it. Just ask Florida governor Rick Scott, who oversaw the largest Medicare fraud in US history. Under my plan, there will be measurements, benchmarks, and metrics to control cost and prevent people from getting away with medical scams or fraud. We will substantially cut medical bills, provide everyone with a safety net to protect them in case of emergencies or catastrophes, and improve the overall health of all Americans.

And of course, don’t forget the power that you as an individual have in improving your own health. By taking care of your health, you can reduce your risk of various illnesses and conditions. By not consuming unhealthy amounts of unhealthy foods or substances, you can improve your own health. Despite having the highest medical bills in the world, the average lifespan in America is several years less than that in other developed countries such as Japan, Switzerland, Australia, Spain, Italy, Sweden, France, and Canada. To give you an idea of how bad the health of Americans is compared to other countries, our average life expectancy is between that of Costa Rica and Cuba according to Wikipedia. Just look at these statistics:

Life expectancy by country

US life expectancy

America’s healthcare system is so bad that we have the highest medical bills in the world and in terms of life expectancy we are losing to Costa Rica. At the very least, I think we should beat Costa Rica.