Transcript: Resuscitating Medicare
Medicare is in trouble. Where, oh where, could we possibly save some money? Well, according to the American Heart Association, cardiovascular disease alone costs us a half trillion dollars a year. So, no wonder, in one of the most exciting developments in lifestyle medicine, last year Medicare officially approved for reimbursement the Ornish Program for Reversing Heart Disease, and the Pritikin Program. Now, hospitals can now get paid for reversing heart disease, instead of just queuing people up for their next bypass operation after their last graft got clogged up too.
Now most people have heard of Dean Ornish, but may not be aware of Nathan Pritikin, the original lifestyle medicine pioneer who started reversing heart disease with diet back in the 1970s. In fact, on a personal note, Pritikin is the reason this little freckled fellow went to medical school.
I think the spark for many kids to want to become a doctor when they grow up is watching a grandparent get sick, or even die. But for me, it was my grandma getting better. This is my grandma at her grandson’s wedding, 15 years after doctors had abandoned her to die. She had already had a couple bypass operations; they ran out of arteries. There was nothing more she could do. Wheelchair bound, crushing chest pain, and then she heard about Pritikin. If anyone needed heart disease reversal! Pritikin’s like a live-in program; you stay for a few weeks, they put you on a plant-based diet; teach you to cook, etc. They wheeled her in, and she walked out. I’ll never forget that. And for a kid, you know that’s all that matters, you get to play with grandma again. She was given her medical death sentence at age 65, and thanks to a healthy diet, she was able to enjoy another 28 years on this earth with her six grandkids, including me.
She’s even mentioned in the official Pritikin biography, Pritikin: The Man who Healed America’s Heart. “These were the death’s door people,” said an early administrator. Like Frances Greger—”…arrived in a wheelchair. Mrs. Greger had heart disease, angina, and claudication; her condition was so bad she could no longer walk without great pain in her chest and legs. Within three weeks, she was not only out of her wheelchair but was walking ten miles a day.”
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Dianne Moore.
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