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Beyond Progressive Malpractice: Taking Down Big Pharma

Progressive Malpractice [noun]: ignoring the fundamental economic and political roots of a crisis; taking a single-issue, band-aid approach in hopes of gaining mainstream support.

Libertarian Narcissism [noun]: promoting individual solutions for collective problems; believing that market pressure alone can bring out-of-control corporations under control; ignoring the plight of the poor; pretending major problems can be solved without serious grassroots organizing and government reform.

*  *  *

Welcome to Sicko Nation: Swimming in a toxic soup of 100,000 synthetic chemicals-carcinogens, neurotoxins, hormone disruptors, immune suppressors, excitotoxins. Worn down by corporate junk food, tainted consumer products, air and water pollution, incessant advertising, infectious disease, synthetic drugs, cigarette smoke, and alcohol. Zapped 24/7 with electromagnetic radiation. Stressed out by poverty and economic insecurity, fear of crime, rampant consumerism, and a murderous work pace. A growing corps of Americans is chronically sick and dispirited.

Aiding and abetting this massive assault, mainstream medical practitioners, the corporate media, and elected public officials ignore or cover-up the toxic roots of Sicko Nation. Money-grubbing politicians offer band-aid solutions, and then proceed to collect their rewards in the form of campaign contributions from the pharmaceutical industry and HMOs (Health Maintenance Organizations). Big Pharma spends more on lobbying-$855 million between 1998 and 2006- than any other industry in the United States, according to the Center for Public Integrity. In addition Big Pharma feeds the insatiable appetite of the mainstream media, spending more than $70 billion dollars a year on advertising. Last but not least, U.S. doctors make more money than any other medical practitioners in the world, though they typically pay a steep price in terms of a 70-hour workweek, skyrocketing malpractice insurance, and indentured servitude to HMOs and giant hospitals. The Emperor of ill health has no clothes, but very few of our so-called leaders are talking seriously about what to do about it.

American consumers and employers will spend over two trillion dollars this year on health insurance, pharmaceutical drugs, and medical bills, yet we will remain-mentally and physically- among the unhealthiest people on Earth. Forty-eight percent of U.S. men and 38% of women can now look forward to getting cancer. Eight percent of our children suffer from serious food allergies, 17% are diagnosed with learning or behavior disabilities, and a third of low-income preschool kids are already overweight or obese. Heart disease, diabetes, mental illness, cancer, and obesity are spiraling out-of-control among all sectors of the population. 

The fundamental causes of most of our chronic health problems are not genetic or inherited, but rather derive from couch potato/commuter lifestyles; over consumption of highly processed, high-cholesterol, nutritionally deficient, and contaminated industrialized foods; and an increasingly polluted, stressful, and toxic environment. These, of course, are problems that even the most expensive prescription drugs and high-tech medical procedures cannot cure. Unfortunately the worst is yet to come. Within eight years, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation, America's health care costs will soar to $4.1 trillion annually, bankrupting Medicare and millions of American families and businesses. Unless we quickly change our priorities from "maintaining" our Sicko Nation to universally preventing disease and promoting overall wellness-including cleaning up our food supply and environment-America's health crisis will become terminal. This means we must put an end to tunnel vision, single-issue health care politics and roll up our sleeves to take on the real culprits: out-of-control corporations, politicians, and technology.

With millions of Americans mentally or physically debilitated, permanently hooked on the world's most expensive prescription drugs, Big Pharma, HMOs, and insurance tycoons rake in billions. According to Dr. Marcia Angell, former editor in chief of the New England Journal of Medicine, in 2002, "The combined profits for the ten drug companies in the Fortune 500 ($35.9 billion) were more than the profits for all the other 490 businesses put together ($33.7 billion). Over the past two decades the pharmaceutical industry has [become] a marketing machine to sell drugs of dubious benefit, [using] its wealth and power to co-opt every institution that might stand in its way, including the US Congress, the FDA, academic medical centers, and the medical profession itself." http://www.nybooks.com/articles/17244

To put it bluntly we must put the "fear of the grassroots" into the minds of Congress and the nation's 172,000 elected public officials. But we will only be able to accomplish this if can move beyond progressive malpractice and libertarian narcissism. The critics of corporate health care and Big Pharma must stop quibbling, close ranks, and mobilize a massive united front of the progressive single-payer health care movement, representing the 100 million Americans with no or inadequate health insurance; reinforced by an army of radicals and libertarians, the 50 million alternative heath consumers who have rejected Big Pharma's trillion-dollar drug and heath maintenance scam altogether. Unless we bring together liberals, radicals, and libertarians, and mobilize this new majority, we will fail.

The toxic side effects of Sicko Nation are poisoning the body politic. With much of the population fixated on their health and psychological problems, worried about losing their jobs or their health coverage, doped up on prescription drugs or alcohol, and, for many, compensating for their alienating jobs with rampant consumerism, politicians and corporations run amuck. National and global mega-crises-climate change, peak oil, and endless war-steadily grow worse. Outgunned and out-maneuvered, public interest organizations have defensively barricaded themselves in their respective single-issue silos-competing rather than cooperating, seldom if ever making the crucial links between food, environment, lifestyle, work, tax policy, military spending, and health. Intimidated and/or bought off by Big Pharma and the medical industrial complex, few of the nation's elected public officials-and none of the major Presidential candidates-dare talk about the obvious solution to our national health crisis: universal health care with a preventive and holistic focus.

We need universal, publicly funded health care because millions of sick and disadvantaged Americans are suffering and dying. We need universal health care because Big Pharma, HMOs, and insurance companies are gouging consumers for two trillion dollars a year, profitably "maintaining" their illnesses, rather than curing them, steadily moving the nation along a trajectory that, combined with out-of-control military spending and corporate tax evasion, will eventually bankrupt the economy.

In every industrialized country in the world, except for the United States, medical care is considered a basic human right, alongside food and shelter, which a civilized society must provide for all. Of course it's very difficult for a corporate-indentured government like the U.S. to afford universal health care, if big pharmaceutical companies and HMOs are allowed to jack up their profit margins at will, while the rich and the corporations are allowed to evade taxes. Health care reform in the U.S. must be coupled with price controls on drugs and medical costs, as well as tax reform, whereby the corporations and the wealthy are forced to pay their fair share of federal taxes. In the U.S. corporations paid almost 40% of all federal taxes in 1943. Now they pay less than 10%. In 1960, millionaires were taxed at the rate of 90%. Now the top rate for millionaires and billionaires is 35%. Putting an end to this institutionalized tax evasion is a prerequisite for being able to afford publicly funded universal health care-without raising taxes for the middle class and the poor.

*  *  *
The Cure: Disease Prevention & Complementary Medicine

But government funded universal health care (exemplified by John Conyers' currently stalled bill in the House, HR 676 ("Non-Profit Medicare for All") is not enough. We need non-profit universal health care that promotes wellness and prevents people from getting sick-before they end up in the hospital or become permanently addicted to expensive prescription drugs with dangerous side effects. Simply giving everyone access to Big Pharma's overpriced drugs, and corporate hospitals' profit-at-any-cost tests and treatment, will result in little more than soaring health care costs, with uninsured and insured alike remaining sick or becoming even sicker.

To cure Sicko Nation and revitalize the body politic, we will need to build up a comprehensive not-for-profit public health system that not only guarantees everyone access to health care, but makes the life or death connections between food, diet, and health; exercise and health; exposure to toxics and health; stress reduction and health; and poverty and health.

As fifty million organic consumers and alternative health consumers can attest, complementary and preventive medicine, utilizing natural herbs, minerals, food based supplements, organic whole foods, lifestyle changes, and holistic healing practices is safe, affordable and effective. Preventive health care, natural medicine, and proper nutrition have been linked to a broad range of health and social benefits, including disease reduction, increased academic performance, and lower health care costs. Unfortunately, a large percentage of the U.S. population lacks access to health care, complementary medicine, and healthy foods. The only solution to this unacceptable situation is to shift to a single-payer, publicly financed, prevention-based, universal health care system. The $350 billion in savings that will occur by eliminating the profit motive and moving to a single-payer system will allow us to insure and promote the health and wellness of our entire population.

In addition, scientific evidence is mounting that Americans' daily exposure to 100,000 different synthetic chemicals (less than 10% of which have ever been safety tested) in our food, water, medicines, body care products, cosmetics, toys, home environments, etc. are undermining our health and fueling an epidemic of debilitating and deadly diseases including cancer, heart disease, asthma, allergies, obesity, and chemical sensitivities.

Of course we still need conventional medicine and practitioners: hospitals, diagnostic tests, surgeons, and specialists, as well as preventive and holistic healers. I am a vocal advocate for organic food and integrative medicine, but if I suffer a heart attack, break my leg, or get shot in an anti-war demonstration, I want to be taken to a well-equipped and staffed hospital, not to a health food store or my local acupuncturist. But after my hospital treatment I don't want to become a prescription drug junky or be driven into bankruptcy court by a $100,000+ hospital bill.

To restore public health and bring Big Pharma to heel will require, as a minimum first step, that we organize a broad united front between the nation's 100 million supporters of single-payer health insurance (many of whom have an outdated or conservative belief system regarding the relative effectiveness of conventional versus alternative medicine), and the more radical, often libertarian, 50 million alternative health consumers and practitioners--who typically hate Big Pharma and the entire medical industrial complex with a passion.

This united front will require us to move beyond current "progressive malpractice," whereby single-payer health care activists work in isolation from alternative health consumers, often dismissing complementary medicine and its advocates as "snake oil salesmen." Similarly "libertarian narcissism" is just as counter-productive: alternative health enthusiasts who basically say "to hell with all government programs" and "socialized medicine," in effect ignoring the plight of 50 million poor and low-income Americans who have little or no access to healthy food, nutrition and health information, or access to quality health care. Beyond uniting liberal, radical, and libertarian critics of Big Pharma and the medical industrial complex, the entire activist rainbow, including environmentalists, trade unionists, tax reformers, peace activists, and other progressives will have work hand in hand to treat and cure our profoundly sick nation.

Forty-seven million Americans currently have no health insurance, while 50 million more of us are woefully underinsured. Unfortunately, being able to afford conventional health insurance yourself or getting it through your employer may not help you very much, since Big Pharma and profit-obsessed HMOs and hospitals are focused mainly on selling you overpriced (often hazardous) prescription drugs ($300 billion a year), running expensive tests, and basically keeping you on permanent health maintenance, rather than preventing and/or curing our most common ailments such as cancer, hypertension, heart disease, lung problems, diabetes, obesity, stroke, and mental illness. Rampant medical malpractice and the failure of conventional medicine to address our serious ailments is the primary reason that 50 million alternative health consumers are taking matters into their own hands and paying $30 billion dollars a year out of their own pockets for complementary medical supplements and practitioners.

Even worse than just expensively maintaining-rather than curing-chronic illnesses, the collateral damage of Big Pharma's business as usual can only be described as catastrophic. As an AMA (American Medical Association) publication admitted a decade ago, drug related "problems" kill. 198,815 people, put 8.8 million in hospitals, and account for up to 28% of hospital admissions." Over the past decade this carnage has increased. Newsweek magazine, among others, has reported that side effects from prescription drugs are now the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. As medical analyst Gary Null warns: "A definitive review and close reading of medical peer-review journals, and government health statistics shows that. the number of people having in-hospital, adverse drug reactions (ADR) to prescribed medicine is 2.2 million .the number of unnecessary antibiotics prescribed annually for viral infections is 20 million. The number of unnecessary medical and surgical procedures performed annually is 7.5 million. The number of people exposed to unnecessary hospitalization annually is 8.9 million. http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_9684.cfm

The problem is clear. The solution is obvious. The trillion-dollar life or death question is whether we can overcome our sectarian divisions and mobilize the grassroots power of the 150 million Americans who are sick and tired of living in a Sicko Nation. Can we heal the perennial split between proponents of conventional medicine and the alternative health consumer movement? Can progressives and libertarians reach out to the economically disadvantaged and stressed-out majority to create a massive grassroots pressure that will literally force the politicians to "do the right thing?"

The time for action is now. To begin the long overdue process of "pressing the politicians" please join thousands of other consumers and taxpayers and go to http://www.grassrootsnetroots.org  where you can click a button to send a comprehensive Universal Health Care Candidate Survey to your state and federal elected public officials and candidates running for office in 2008. Once you've "pressed the politicians," an on-line organizer from the Grassroots Netroots Alliance will contact you.

 

For more information on this topic or related issues you can search the thousands of archived articles on the OCA website using keywords:

mrl
post Mar 14 2008, 11:09 PM



I agree with everything you say, except I don't believe universal public funded health care is the answer. I remember growing up, my father didn't have insurance. Any time we needed to go to the Dr. we could afford it. Why? Because there were no HMO'S or PPO'S. I believe the problem lies with getting rid of the insurance companies. If we went back to paying cash the cost of Dr. visits would go down. There would still be catastrophic health insurance for major illnesses. We have a clinic where I live now and they accept cash and their prices are very reasonable. Also there needs to be some discussion about education. I volunteer at our food pantry at our church and it is so depressing to see how many obese and very sick people there are. They do not know anything about nutrition. We have had a man with diabetes ask for sugar and a man who just had cancer surgery! We no longer carry sugar. I also remember growing up we had a garden every year and we canned in the summer to have food all winter. People don't even know how to garden anymore. We never ate out and we never had fast food. I don't believe government is the answer. Look at all the people on some type of government assistance, it makes them lazy. It creates a dependency that should not be there. People need to work and move and eat right to stay healthy. How can you do that if you sit around all the time waiting for that check in the mail? Also anything government gets involved with is a disaster: Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Public Schools, WIC (by the way only recently did they allow people on this program to buy fresh fruits and vegetables) which to me is unbelievable. If anything that's all they should be allowed to buy is healthy organic food. I also believe you need to go to Ron Paul's website and check out what he says about health care. He is an OBGYN by trade and knows what he is talking about. He is also the only one running for President that cares about our alternative methods like vitamins, herbs, etc.

Life shall Appea...
post Mar 15 2008, 12:58 AM


QUOTE (mrl @ Mar 14 2008, 08:09 PM) *
I agree with everything you say, except I don't believe universal public funded health care is the answer. I remember growing up, my father didn't have insurance. Any time we needed to go to the Dr. we could afford it. Why? Because there were no HMO'S or PPO'S. I believe the problem lies with getting rid of the insurance companies. If we went back to paying cash the cost of Dr. visits would go down. There would still be catastrophic health insurance for major illnesses. We have a clinic where I live now and they accept cash and their prices are very reasonable. Also there needs to be some discussion about education. I volunteer at our food pantry at our church and it is so depressing to see how many obese and very sick people there are. They do not know anything about nutrition. We have had a man with diabetes ask for sugar and a man who just had cancer surgery! We no longer carry sugar. I also remember growing up we had a garden every year and we canned in the summer to have food all winter. People don't even know how to garden anymore. We never ate out and we never had fast food. I don't believe government is the answer. Look at all the people on some type of government assistance, it makes them lazy. It creates a dependency that should not be there. People need to work and move and eat right to stay healthy. How can you do that if you sit around all the time waiting for that check in the mail? Also anything government gets involved with is a disaster: Welfare, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the Public Schools, WIC (by the way only recently did they allow people on this program to buy fresh fruits and vegetables) which to me is unbelievable. If anything that's all they should be allowed to buy is healthy organic food. I also believe you need to go to Ron Paul's website and check out what he says about health care. He is an OBGYN by trade and knows what he is talking about. He is also the only one running for President that cares about our alternative methods like vitamins, herbs, etc.


mrl

Allow me to understand what you said:??

Get rid of the insurance companies, and use cash only,

Educate obese and unhealthy people about nutrition even if they are homeless

Learn gardening

Government involvement is always a disaster

Those on welfare ought to only receive fresh products

Those on welfare ought to be only able to buy organic food

Vote Ron Paul

greendreemz
post Mar 15 2008, 03:25 PM


I totally agree with the first post. I conquered rheumatoid arthritis simply by not eating inflammatory foods. It took me 3 years of trial and error to figure out, but I won't take drugs especially as RA drugs have the most lethal side effects. I actually feel fortunate to have developed this disease because my research has led me to believe that aging is all about eliminating inflammation which is systemic and left unchecked develops into one of many diseases based on inherent genetic weaknesses. I no longer have to worry about any of the inflammatory diseases that come with aging including Alzheimers in my opinion, and I did it all bypassing the entire health care system. I now weigh what I weighed in my 20s and my blood pressure is 100/60 - no drugs, no side effects, no pain and excellent health from an excellent albeit restricted organic diet.

EarthAngel
post Mar 15 2008, 04:06 PM


I agree with you all. Insurance companies play on fear, and it is fear that create dis-ease. Governments have lost their power, they're bought off by multinational corporations. We can only trust our inner voice, but we need to silence our racing minds to listen. Then act responsibly.
I do a lot of research to get closer to the Truth that resonate with me. People do need to educate themselves! There are a lot of good documentaries out there, ie "We feed the world" (watch for free on google video, then you'll think twice before going to the supermarket), "what the bleep do we know", "the Secret"... Our Mind is very powerful, we ought to understand how it works then we can create what we really want, and heal the world by starting with ourselves!
"We are what we eat" is so true, what we swallow is energy that builds us up, as our cells regenerate daily we do create who we are...it is well worth paying more for quality food, instead of useless pills and health bills (remember the placebo effect...it's all in the mind!).

alorell
post Mar 15 2008, 04:26 PM


Yes nutrition is everything. Lack of education and disinformation cause a lot of health problems. Autopsies were done regularly after someone died. As a former medical copywriter I have seen articles on the wealth of information from autopsies. Fear of malpractice reduced this because doctors don't want to discover the true causes of death thus possible malpractice suits. Very few new drugs have been created since the 1950's. The FDA is joke and so are most medical journals and the AMA. As a US advertising copywriter I could only reference US journals for ads. The thing is a lot of foreign medical journals have excellent articles published from research abroad from reputable institutions. Problem is European journals have articles that may contradict or question efficacy of synthetic drugs. As long as a study is printed in an American medical journal it can be referenced as evidence for advertising and is considered a true legal claim until someone publishes an article assessing all articles on the subject matter. This is rare and often points to the 50/50 conclusions that some of these drugs work. The NY Times reported drug companies released studies to medical journals on drugs that were favorable 86% of the time. Articles unfavorable only 14% were released for publication.Universal health care would waste money on a lot of quackery. Bad idea.

SOLUTIONS for HEALTH CARE:
1. ENCOURAGE DRUG COMPANIES TO CREATE CURES FOR DISEASES. Right now a lot drug research is done recreating old drugs with slightly altered chemical make-ups so that a patent can be obtained. Most of these drugs are often inferior and have more side effects, but it is in the drug companies interest to promote them at a higher charge. They have the sole rights to profits. So drug companies discourage doctors from prescribing the older cheaper equally effective drugs. EXTEND PATENT PROTECTION LIFE FOR DRUG COMPANIES. The 1st 14 years they get the payout the want. Every 10 years the government renews the patent at a lower cheaper sale price. Drug companies don't have to worry about losing money on failures. The drug company can continue to profit and spend research dollars making something truly new. Maybe even cures. The drug companies are in power. Don't kid yourself. A mutual solution is needed.
2. TRUE PUBLIC CLINICS AND HOSPITALS WITH A VOUCHER SYSTEM. We have public school system is not perfect but decent enough. Every citizen gets vouchers from the government that they redeem at a public hospital/clinic of their choice. These vouchers are redeemed by the hospitals for money from Uncle Sam. This keeps the public system competing within itself. Rich people can still buy and pay for their own fancy doctors. A public system will offer economies of scale for medical diagnostic equipment and drugs. Each county/region will have 1 diagnostic facility that every clinic uses. This equipment and use is expensive, but they are preventive medicine tools. Doctors are presently pressured by patients to give them these test even when the doctor deems unnecessary. Taxpayers get billed. At least if patients demand these tests, the cost will be much cheaper. Doctors say once they purchase the equipment they have to pressure patients who don't need the test to take them just to pay for the machines. These test start at $1000.00. Don't worry medicaid pays.
3. GOVERNMENT PROMOTE DOCTORS TO WORK IN PUBLIC MEDICINE. Government will completely pay for the education of aspiring doctors. In return they have to work at a public clinic for at least 8 years.
Where they are provided housing like university professors, but with a pay ceiling until there 8 years are up.
4. LET THE GOVERNMENT INSURE DOCTORS FOR MALPRACTICE. We have the FDIC for bank accounts. why not a max liable rate for medical malpractice. This will discourage people from suing in hopes of being rich for life. Doctors can do autopsies again. We'll start learning about medicine again instead of drug companies telling us what to know.

Allowing private entities like HMOs to determine how money should be spent doesn't really encourage efficiency. The government forcing every one to have medical insurance won't correct the problems that already exist in medicine. An HMO can not tell hospitals to mobilize and work together. Too much government is bad. Too much Corporatacracy is just as bad. Tax dollars are our money. We should tell government how to spend it. Instead of government giving it away to who will keep them in office.

emerald
post Mar 15 2008, 05:34 PM


Yes, we must have single payer universal healthcare. The libertarian, Ron Paul, approach doesn't solve anything. Citing a single personal anecdote, as MRL does, is typical of the simplistic solutions that libertarians love to cling to.

He claims the problem will be solved by paying cash when you go see the doctor. This ignores, for example, the millions who may be too poor, homeless, or out of work to have the cash to see a doctor.

Is he aware that in some communities the unemployment rate is 50%? For example, a study released called, "A Crisis in Black Male Employment: Unemployment and Joblessness in New York City, 2003" reports that nearly 50% of black men in New York City were unemployed?

Is he aware that millions have lost EVERYTHING as a result of things like Hurricane Katrina, the outsourcing of millions of jobs overseas, and the sub prime housing scam?

Is he aware that, according to a 2005 Harvard study, MILLIONS have been bankrupted by illness? They may not have a job or the money to pay for a doctor's visit.

You say the prices at the clinic where you live are "reasonable." ANYTHING can be regarded as "reasonable" when you have adequate disposable income to pay for it. And what if the clinic isn't equipped to do an MRI or more expensive tests or treatments that a patient may need? Clinics can only provide so much.

The real world is FAR more complex and the situations that millions of people are facing with are varied and can't be fixed with simplistic bromides. Wake up.

In a 2001 Canadian Institute for Health Information (CIHI) survey most Canadians rated the healthcare they received as good or excellent.

The GAO reported in 1991 that the U.S. could extend health care to all its citizens and still save money by adopting Canada's national system.

The report concluded that "If the universal coverage and single-payer features of the Canadian system were applied in the United States, the savings in administrative costs alone would be more than enough to finance insurance coverage for the millions of Americans who are currently uninsured.

According to the report, the savings might even be large enough to eliminate deductibles and co-payments insured citizens now pay, making health care free for everyone.

In 1989, per-capita health spending in the United States was $2,196 compared with $1,570 in Canada.

Health indicators also favor Canada: average life expectancy of Canadian men is 73.1 years, while it is 71.3 years for American men, and Canada's infant mortality rate is lower. (This is not current 2008 data. This is from a number of years ago.)

Adopting a Canadian-style system would save about $67 billion in administrative costs, the GAO estimated. Universal insurance coverage without cost-sharing would result in about $64 billion in added costs, for a net savings of $3 billion. (Again, this data goes back a ways.)

According to a fairly recent Harris interactive poll (96%) of Americans 'strongly' or 'somewhat' favor Medicare, the medical assistance program for the elderly and disabled, while 91% say they support Medicaid, the program to assist people with very low incomes." According to the poll 75% favor universal health insurance, compared with 17% who oppose it.

However, if we want good government and good public policy and an end to the corrupting influence and power of Corporate America, we MUST get big money OUT of the political process.

Towards that end we must not only fight for universal single payer healthcare, but we must also fight to have publicly funded elections, proportional representation, Instant Run Off elections, etc.

Finally, the fact that there are 50 million alternative health care consumers doesn't necessarily convince me that what they may be spending their money on is necessarily effective.

How many of those 50 million consumers buy outrageously overpriced (and largely unregulated) bottled water thinking it will be healthy for them when they may just be drinking bottled tap water in plastic bottles that leach?

It does tell me that the alternative health care industry is another big business and the buyer needs to beware just as you would be with any purchase.

The problem is, of course, how do you establish the effectiveness of a given alternative treatment? As far as I know, we don't have a system established for evaluating alternative treatments. We need a system that can independently evaluate the quality and effectiveness of alternative treatments. It puts the consumer in a difficult situation without having a system that will do that.



EarthAngel
post Mar 15 2008, 08:12 PM


You establish the effectiveness of any alternative treatment by trying the one your heart guides you to try, it will be different for different people, so stop asking for a "system" to regulate anything or tell you what's good for you! Only you really know, if only you take the time to listen within to the part of you that is Love and makes One with all that we call Divine...

For a very earthy point of view, that anyone can relate to, watch "SICKO" by MICHAEL MOORE!!!
It shows all the problems and solutions, well done Michael, it's screaming with truth, I've just finished watching the DVD and tears were filling my eyes though my heart swollen with Love and gratitude...

diana
post Mar 15 2008, 09:37 PM


Made a bet with myself, Ronnie, man. If I didn't come up with a single instance of the "o" word, I was gonna set aside this glorious afternoon and write to every legislator I know of to get your points across.

Didn't happen. Only a few paragraphs in, you jumped on the "obesity epidemic" bandwagon.

Frees up my afternoon (to do what I was already doing, which includes working against the very same fat oppression you're furthering, on the backs of me n' mine). Your loss.

OTOH, emerald, you have a new fan, here. --diana

alorell
post Mar 15 2008, 10:11 PM


If you do not know what a voucher system is look it up. Milton Friedman(Noble prize winner) proposed the idea and completely improved the Minnesota education system with it.
A public clinic would be run through a voucher system. It's paid through taxes IN the form of a voucher you redeem. The individual consumer determines where to spend. Prices being reasonable are irrelevant. Vouchers are tax dollars in your hand. The voucher system also causes Health services to compete and keep prices low and provide quality within possibilities. With a voucher you choose where to spend. As for Canada they"re still buying inferior pharmaceuticals and behaving in the same ways as Americans(just at a cheaper price, 2 year longer mortality maybe statistically significant but not really significant. Canada maybe doing it cheaper but it's still too expensive, and big pharma companies will still get rich. They can't wait for national health care. It's there dream. Everyone will get tested now. And now more people will need prescriptions.

cfroh
post Today, 03:04 PM


You progressives are great on natural health care, but economically ignorant on health system reform. We libertarians aren't selfish, as you condescendingly and inaccurately refer. It is with love that we want to free humanity from government, "Our Enemy," as Nock put it, so that we can access more goods and services, with higher quality, more choices, and better affordability. The key to health reform is simple: get government out of the way.

I blogged about this at www.CommonInterest.info, and hope folks check it out, leave a "comment", and forward to others. Briefly, my thoughts follow:

It is government, as we all know, through the FDA and United Nation's Codex body, that threatens access to high quality, affordable supplements, therapies and food. So get rid of both.

As far as toxins, disclosure is the key. OCA praises USDA's organic standard now, but nothing is stopping OCA, or any other respected third party, from offering a disclosure that will promote - in a free market - health eating and health living.

It is also government, as progressives refuse to acknowledge, that prices health insurance out of the reach of many Americans. States are the main culprit, with their benefit mandates and prohibitions on out-of-state insurance purchasing.

Also, the tax code exacerbates health inaccessibility as well. Employees get pre-tax coverage, but individuals don't. Give Bush credit for trying to transfer this tax preference over to individuals. (Doing this would give another progressive goal - supporting smaller businesses as corporate benefits disappear).

The only govt worth keeping in health care are state "high risk" pools, but eventually even these could disappear, as Health Savings Accounts push insurance farther and farther out of the doctor-patient relationship. Insurance, then, would take more risks to earn more premiums.

In a Ron Paul country - one that honored the Constitution - we would see what DeToqueville saw in his U.S. tour in the 1830s: volunteer associations taking care of the poor, with clinics, hospitals, orphanages, schools, churches, etc. Volunteers already spend as much as Welfare; think how much more money would be donated if the government stole less money from families?

Socialized medicine promotes the same evil we see with FDA regulation of supplements. Supplements suffer interference now, and a Single Payer system would torture each of us with bureaucratic annoyances against which we soon would be on the streets protesting.

Liberty means expanding the sovereignty of the individual against the sovereignty of the State. Liberty solves all problems. I invite progressives to expand their correct thinking on supplements and the FDA, to all aspects of health system reform.