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 Eight Views on Andrew Weil's Seven Recommendations for True Healthcare Reform: Major ND Response  
 
The following is one in an ongoing series of columns entitled Integrator Blog by . View all columns in series

"John F. Kennedy spoke these words in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961:
'And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man.'
"How does this apply to health care reform? In the health care debate the question is often asked: 'Is health care a right or a privilege?' In line with President Kennedy here is a third option: 'Health care is an obligation.'

   
"Health care is an obligation...
Living up to these obligations
alone could significantly improve
the health of individuals and
communities and lower the cost
of health care more than any reform
option currently on the table."

 
"We are obligated to and owe it to ourselves and to our families to take care of our own health. To eat right, to exercise right, to get enough sleep, to find healthy options to relieve stress, to stop smoking, to drink alcohol in moderation, to develop healthy relationships, to work to maintain an optimal weight, to ensure optimal conditioning prior to engaging in sports, to wear a bike helmet when riding a bike, to wear a safety belt when in a car, to follow scientific-based prevention guidelines best suited to you as an individual, to make one’s health a priority, to develop and manage a health care related budget, and so much more.

"Living up to these obligations alone could significantly improve the health of individuals and communities and lower the cost of health care more than any reform option currently on the table. Living up to these obligations could literally change the world.

"Beyond the personal obligations articulated above we also have obligations to identify barriers to good health, to identify the root-cause of these barriers, and to stand up in community to break these barriers down.

"These barriers include, but are not limited to:

  • Environmental barriers to good health such as pollution, chemicals in our foods, food production techniques, and more
  • Political barriers to good health such as the politics of stakeholders in the health care system (insurers, politicians, providers) worrying more about themselves than about the greater good of the community
  • Financial barriers to good health such as balancing the inability for some to afford high-quality, value-based health care with the human need to give, to earn, to be needed, and to be honored
  • Reimbursement barriers to good health such as primary care physicians having to generate 25-30 or more relative value units (as patient services are referred to in the health care world) per day (clearly not based on the good of the patient) and physician practices having to make up financial shortfalls by ordering more and more ancillary services and driving up the cost of care
  • Other access related barriers to good health such as cultural, language, education, limited number of high-quality physicians in rural areas, and more

"We have voices, we have our energy, and we have our obligation to stand up, to get involved and to make a significant difference (and not wait for our country to do it for us).

"What can we do for our country to significantly improve the health of individuals and communities? Much - starting with living up to our obligation to take care of ourselves and our families and our communities."

Thomas Dahlborg, Executive Director
True North: Maine's Center for Functional Medicine and the Healing Arts
Falmouth, ME
Comment:  What would be the product of a summit that explored the intersection of personal responsibility, integrative practices, and public policy? I suspect most of Weil's suggestions, and much recommended in these comments, would make the consensus statement.


7. Mary Klifman:
First, corruption reform, then healthcare reform

Mary Lifman takes up the theme of extending Weil's recommendations, only she focuses on the people who need to pass legislation and urges a first step to health reform as "corruption reform."
"Dr. Weil's Health Care Call to Action is by no means all inclusive in what is needed in our health reform bill, especially in that it omits the countless oversight issues needed to halt the criminal machinations of insurance co's and big pharma's gouging drug prices. But I think it offers a brilliant start to what is needed regarding the paradigm shift in our treatment modalities from our present allopathic system toward integrative medicine!

   
"But how do we get from the
ugly sausage-making style of
disputes now underway in Congress
all the way to Congress acknowledging
the need for holistic medicine being
integrated into primary care!"

 
"BUT, dream on, how EVER do we get from the ugly sausage-making style of disputes now underway in Congress that presently looks as though the new health care bill may possibly set our real purposes back rather than forward, all the way to Congress acknowledging the need for holistic medicine being integrated into primary care! As long as our elected officials FROM BOTH PARTIES are in the pockets of big biz, our efforts will remain futile.

"I wish that someone like you could keep us all up to date regarding EACH AND EVERY ONE of our reps' and senators':
1) history of campaign contributions from big biz and
2) history of votes on every relevant bill that's come before them.
"I go to my representative's sites and flounder around trying to glean such info, and can seldom get anything relevant. They tell us what they think is politically expedient and omit the rest. It's only when we all have such information at hand that we can really begin to put the pressure on congress with our phone calls and especially with our vote. I'm disappointed to sound so cynical, but I believe that no meaningful health care reform can occur until we do something regarding congressional CORRUPTION REFORM. And the American constituency needs help in making sense of who's really doing what in congress on all fronts relevant to this in order to try to 'clean house' in Washington!

   
   "I'm disappointed to sound so
cynical, but I believe that no
meaningful health care reform
can occur until we do something
regarding congressional
CORRUPTION REFORM."

"Certainly the media is not doing much that helps with this, and I know of no grass roots organization who's job is to spoon feed us such 'fact finding' info. I'm forwarding this letter to you to some other great grass roots orgs (plus to President Obama) in hopes that SOME organization might see the need for such data to be compiled and distributed. If such factual data already exists that is relatively easy to retrieve, please let me know."

Mary Klifman
Comment: Ultimately, in our system, "corruption reform" will be in place when we have a sufficient industry of health creation that the health creators and wellness businesses and organic growers have such a system of lobbyists and special interest groups that these become the influencers. Corruption reform is relative. Success is measured by the extent to which one's own kind do the influencing and "corrupting."



Send your comments to johnweeks@theintegratorblog.com
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.
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 About The Author
Resumes are useful in employment decisions. I provide this background so that you may understand what informs the work which you may employ in your own. I have been involved as an organizer-writer in the emerging fields......moreJohn Weeks
 
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