Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Response to "Call To Action" by Sen Baucus

By Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)

As a dietitian I am concerned that one crucial element is missing in all the discussion about reforming our health care system. The Baucus Call to Action calls for "a "RightChoices" card that guarantees access to recommended preventive care, including services like a health risk assessment, physical exam, immunizations, and age and gender appropriate cancer screenings recommended by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force." Unfortunately this type of 'preventive' care is a path into the pharmaceutical-based care that medical doctors are trained in, which is the path we are presently on - more obesity and chronic disease treated with drugs, not the lifestyle changes that are needed. Medical doctors are not taught how excellent nutrition with careful supplementation and detoxification can heal the ailing body and prevent more serious problems, unless they go out of their way to get special training later in their career when they realize the problems that relying on drugs causes. In fact medical doctors, and even conventional dietitians, are taught to consider many effective nutritional therapies as "food fallacies," and doctors who use nutritional therapies (sometime called Complementary and Alternative Medicine or CAM) are attacked by their medical boards, and some even have their licenses removed because they did not follow 'accepted protocols,' in spite of the healing and vibrant health they have brought to their patients.

An example is John Dommisse, M.D. , who had his license revoked by the Arizona medical board, in spite of his accomplishments. The medical board acted outrageously to squash a doctor using innovative nutritional approaches, as his efforts to appeal have been rejected on trivial grounds. As he says on his website "nutritional medicine is much more successful and effective in chronic diseases than standard/conventional medicine is."

Something similar is happening in the state of Washington, as related by Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D. in his newsletter, quoting: "Unfortunately, holistic physicians in Washington state are under political attack by the Medical Quality Assurance Commission (MQAC). Several physicians are being persecuted by MQAC because they offer their patients holistic healthcare. These doctors are being dragged through hearings and are under investigation because the MQAC believe that these doctors should have their medical licenses revoked for not practicing "traditional" mainstream [drug-based] medicine." (Please understand that drugs are crutches that cover up symptoms, but rarely correct the underlying cause, and often cause side effects that lead to the use of another drug, and another, and another.)

These are the very doctors who will bring down the cost of health care by leading their patients toward healthier lives at relatively modest cost! We must break the monopoly that pharmaceutical therapeutics has on our medical care system. CAM must become a standard of care taught in our medical schools, and supported by the medical establishment. CAM practitioners, including naturopaths and well trained nutritionists must be recognized as effective sources of guidance for patients seeking holistic health care. When insurance companies see the dollars saved by these alternative therapies, they will begin to insist that all doctors become skilled in the use of these therapies. They might even push for reform of our food system, as noted by Michael Pollan in a recent New York Times opinion piece, called Big Food vs Big Insurance

I see nothing in the current health care reform proposals that would give an incentive to citizens to lead a healthier lifestyle, for example, by avoiding the processed foods that are so detrimental to health but fill our grocery store shelves. If every visit to the doctor is covered by insurance, where is the incentive to lead a healthy life so visits to the doctor are rarely needed, since it is easier to take a pill than to reform kitchen activities? Health Savings Accounts, accompanied by catastrophic health insurance, should be an option for those who want to pursue alternative paths to good health, allowing us to spend our health care dollars on herbs and supplements (and real food) rather than drugs and surgery, and who, as a result, rarely get sick.

Reforming our health care system is a monstrous job, considering all the vested interests involved, who stand to lose money if we have true reform. We spend an enormous amount of money on health care now, with mediocre results. I pray that Congress will understand what is needed for true reform, resist the blandishments of the vested interests, and enact reforms that cuts costs not only by cutting waste and fraud, but also by enabling true health and effective healing through holistic health care.

Carolyn 'Kris' Johnson
Williston, Ohio

Letter to the President

Dear President Obama,

I am concerned that health care reform will be ineffective unless the monopoly of the conventional drug/surgery paradigm is broken. Our present system is too driven by the search for profits which the insurance system just supports. With our present system effective natural therapies, such as natural foods, supplements and detoxification, that restore health and help the body heal, are blacklisted while patentable drugs and expensive surgeries, touted at "science-based," are reimbursed by insurance in spite of their long list of side effects and their poor record correcting the underlying causes of disease. Health care practitioners who use natural therapies are ignored and often condemned by their peers, who are brainwashed by their training into thinking that drugs are the answer, thanks to the excessive influence of the drug industry. Yet these natural therapy advocates often guide patients to successful healing, with therapies that the patient must pay for, when conventional doctors who were unable to help are covered by insurance. This system is broken and must be fixed!

If you would like to know what real health care reform should involved, you should talk to:

  • Dr. James Roberts, M.D., in Toledo, Ohio, who reduced the cost of cardiac care and brought health and healing to his patients by using natural therapies rather than drugs and surgery -
  • Dr. Julian Whitaker, M.D., in Newport Beach California, who brings health and healing to his patients with diabetes and many other common health problems using natural therapies rather than drugs -
  • Dr. Joseph Mercola, D.O., in Chicago, who brings health and healing to his patients with natural therapies, and won’t even take insurance because it is of such little benefit to his patients. He hosts a huge popular website,, providing valuable guidance in how to stay healthy -
  • Dr. David Brownstein, M.D., in West Bloomfield, Michigan, who brings health and healing to patients with puzzling ailments, whose conventional doctors has overloaded them with ineffective drugs, using supplements and natural hormones -
  • Dr. Bruce West, D.C., Monterey, California, who has brought health and healing to his readers for over 25 years through an informative newsletter, Health Alert, on natural therapies –, 831-372-2103
  • Dr. Samuel Epstein, M.D., who has documented the misguided and ineffective ‘war on cancer’ in his book "Cancer-Gate: How to Win the Losing Cancer War -
  • Dr. Jonathan Wright, M.D., who has been helping his patients heal with nutritional therapies, along with the best of traditional medicine for 27 years.

There are many others! As a dietitian by profession, with a masters in nutrition, now retired and ‘reformed,’ I understand the excessive influence of the drug and food industries on my training and practice, as I promoted the conventional ‘wisdom’ about food, until in retirement I read more widely and realized the benefits of natural whole foods, not Egg Beaters, Heart Smart margarine, and Hamburger Helper. The commercial agriculture/food industry is another piece in the puzzle of our sky-rocketing health care costs, along with our desire for cheap, convenient food, but that’s an issue for another day.

Thank you for your attention to these urgent issues. Let’s develop a system that pays doctors and hospitals to keep patients well, rather than paying more the sicker they become.

Carolyn K. Johnson, MS nutrition
Williston, Ohio

Also sent to Democratic Leadership Team & Pres. Obama 6/5/09

Obesity taking toll on U.S. health care

Obesity continues to make headlines - not surprising, because the very recommendations that contribute to obesity are still being touted by the 'experts'. Looking at Cleveland Clinic's website for their recommendations, I see skim milk (actually good for fattening pigs), various margarines & oils (modern vegetable oil industries don't want you to know that obesity and chronic disease have risen right along with the rise in oil consumption), soy foods (the soy industry doesn't want you to know all the problems that modern soy foods can cause), artificial sweeteners (the industry certainly doesn't want you to know of their links to obesity), low fat this and that - though there is precious little evidence that restricting traditional fats contributes to obesity, but lots of evidence that carbs, with their effects on blood sugars and insulin, are the real culprits. USDA and the food industry don't want us to know that we don't need all the wheat & corn concoctions recommended on the Food Pyramid - bad for business! The pop industry refuses to acknowledge how bad refined sugar is for us. My fellow dietitians don't want to look seriously at the evidence and admit that they've been wrong about butter and saturated fat all these years. Dietitians will scream foul, but they don't realize how brainwashed they are by the system that makes money off all this. FDA threatens anyone claiming nutritional healing, yet they approve all kinds of drugs developed from natural healing substances into patentable forms (read profitable), in spite of their many side effects. Is it any wonder that health care reform is so contentious with all these conflicting interests making money off our ill health!
It might contribute to the recession if we had real health care reform and got truly healthy!

Big Food vs. Big Insurance

Excellent article by Michael Pollan on the potential influence of the health insurance industry on the food and agriculture industries.