Last Friday The Olympian published a letter to the editor in which I proposed a plan that would reduce Washington state Medicaid expenditures by at least $3 billion:
Vitamin D3 is budget shortfall solution
The idea wasn't mine, but originated with William Faloon, director and co-founder of the Life Extension Foundation:
William Faloon, director of the Life Extension Foundation, believes that we can reduce Medicare and Medicaid costs by as much as 50 percent by giving clients 5,000-to-7,000 IU of D3 per day.
Like lowering the tax rate to increase tax revenues, spending money to save money may seem counter-intuitive. At least to some. But it makes sense.
Most Americans suffer from a deficiency of Vitamin D3. This causes all kinds of problems:
Current research has implicated vitamin D deficiency as a major factor in the pathology of at least 17 varieties of cancer as well as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, autoimmune diseases, diabetes, depression, chronic pain, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, muscle wasting, birth defects, periodontal disease, and more. -- Understanding Vitamin D Cholecalciferol, John Jacob Cannell, MD, The Vitamin D Council
In this economy, where a program like this would be viewed solely as an expensive public health measure rather than a cost-reduction effort, it won't happen.
What the state cannot do, however, tribes can at their tribal clinics. If we can prove it works in Indian Country, where we have the lowest overall health metrics of any demographic in the country, then it might gain traction in the rest of the nation.
So I've started to promote the idea in Indian Country. First, to tribal health officials here in Washington state, then to some national Indian health authorities, and also to my own tribe's health board.
The article I wrote on this, along with links to the Foundation's articles on D3 deficiency, and how addressing this problem can save the nation billions, can be found here:
A bold plan to save tribal health money