Tag Archives: health care reform

Activism Real Food

Want Your Politicians to Listen? Write A Letter About The Food System And Health Care Reform!

I wrote this letter to my state senator, Mike Crapo today. I’m urgently concerned about the state of our health care and the food system – which are intrinsically tied together. Feel free to cut and paste this letter and send it on to your local congressperson or legislative representative. I’ve written over a dozen letters to senators, congresspeople, and The President about our health care system, prevention being a priority (with coverage for preventative services as well as emphasis on education about the proper prevention such as real nutrition), and the food system being directly tied to our health care system reform. Please make the effort and reach out to the political decision-makers in your local area and to those in Washington. Only the people can make a difference!

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Dear Mr. Crapo -

Thank you for taking the time to respond to my phone call and concerns. I am generally less interested in more government layers and regulations about food than I am accountability and responsibility on the level of taking care of the problems in food where the problems begin – at the point of origin, which is the facilities and practices themselves surrounding the growth, distribution, and sales of food products.

I’m interested in H.R. 2749 as a method of furthering the work needed to be done to clean up our food systems. It is a well-known fact that much of our food originates from the conventional sector (agribusiness) where the most abhorrent conditions for food production and growth prevail. I want to see regulation directed at the practices and methods of how we grow our food and changes made from industrialization to sustainability. When I say this, I specifically mean that laws be passed which stop the feeding of genetically-modified substances to cattle, hogs, sheep, chickens, turkeys, and other livestock or fowl used for food. I also want to see a return to natural farming methods (a return to pasture-raising) – from feeding animals grain, soy, and corn (all unnatural and genetically-modified). Why not use H.R. 2749 for this purpose – to require the banning of harmful, toxic substances from our meats, poultry, produce, and other foods such as hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and other toxins which reduce the nutritional value of food and inherently cause harm to human health/animal health/the environment?

These issues are tied heavily into our health care system, and without attention paid to our food supply and the safety of its management, we will continue to contribute to the depth of which this nation is under strain from rising health care costs and burdens to our health care system. When we make preventative measures with food a priority, we will improve the condition for the health of every citizen in this country – our nation, of which we should not only be proud, but be protective and watchful. Being protective means doing the right thing to achieve the correct result  – not by going in and adding more analysis of a system that is already in grave jeopardy due to the mismanagement of its processes. A big component of our food safety plan, then, would certainly include an overhaul of current practices in farming methods, to change the root cause of why we are seeing so many food safety problems in the first place. That’s the only way any of this will make sense.

Time and time again we have seen the results (E.coli and salmonella poisioning) of industrial methods of farming (grain, soy, and wheat feed) and the impact it has on the health of animals being slaughtered for food – and the subsequent negative affects it has on the humans who consume it. These are the issues I’m talking about. Until we make fundamental changes in the methods we use to grow and distribute food, we will continue to see food safety issues cropping up more and more, as with the tomatoes (watered with runoff from factory farms, where they handle animals in this way, which causes salmonella and E. coli to enter fruit and vegetable systems and poison those who eat it). This is where the change needs to occur. Please understand the seriousness of this matter and help the American people gain back control of their food supply, and have more sustainable, safer, more nutritious food to eat. There is plenty of evidence and research which proves this is occurring in our food system, and must be stopped! No furthering of layers and government regulations will prevent this from continuing to occur. I’m a consumer health writer and educator about sustainable issues and I’ve done the research - I know it’s there, and I’m counting on you – please don’t let me down!

-Raine Saunders

Boise, Idaho

Activism Real Food

ACTION NOW! An Open Letter to the President And Other Decision Makers Regarding Preventative Health Care

Dear Mr. President and members of Congress,

Most people know the health care system in our country is beyond broke. Even now that the new administration is in place, I’m seeing very little being done to remedy the desperately dire health care conditions in this country. I realize a major system change takes time.

I know things don’t happen overnight. What I’m most frustrated by is the fact that I’ve heard various commentators, political figures, and decision-makers throw the word “prevention” around like it is the latest buzz word of the day and give the subject much lip service…but still nothing substantial is being done. It’s time for these individuals to put their money where their mouths are! And, it’s time for citizens to stop being passive and take action. I say let our voices be heard! Advocacy is important in any critical movement, and this is no exception.

Under the current health care system, citizens have little to no choice about their treatment options. Not much  emphasis, education, nor insurance coverage is allowed for preventative health care. I stress this with great importance: until we gear our health care system toward prevention and move away from what I refer to as reactive care, disease numbers and conditions will continue to increase. This of course means health care costs will also go up.

I want to see alternatives in health offered for coverage by insurance companies – not just drugs and surgery, which I believe have played a major role in causing the ills of people in our nation. Alternatives would include but not be limited to chiropractic, naturopathic, homeopathic, osteopathic, massage, acupuncture, reflexology, hypnotherapy, nutritional therapy, exercise physiological services, and colon hydro therapy.

Almost never do any members of my family see allopathic physicians. When we have health concerns, we see one of the above-mentioned practitioners, and none of these services are covered under our insurance plans except chiropractic – and the coverage is limited. These health care expenses are not affordable, and no one is helping to offset the cost of these goods and services. But I’d still rather spend my money on preventative care that works than wait until something is wrong and then treat it otherwise. It’s a choice I’ve made to ensure better health and provide a better future for my family. This choice I have made because I spent years seeing doctors that neither listened to my problems, nor gave me solutions, nor had any way of dealing with the issues at hand except with drugs and surgery. I’ve gone down that path before, and I say with certainty that I won’t go down it again. Reactive medicine only made my problems worse, whereas preventative and natural care made me well again. Which choice would you make?

We need more advocacy and education on the subject of alternative and preventative health care and nutrition. Too much of our health care system emphasizes use of drugs and surgery for treatment of health care issues after the fact and sometimes when it is too late to save a life. If our system included programs and educational efforts to help teach people about and encourage them to engage in preventative health measures, we would see a noticeable decline in disease and illness. We desperately need a strong movement in advocacy of elimination of processed foods from our primary diets in order to combat disease and promote well-being. Again, very little emphasis is placed on this important component of a health care system that actually works.

Too many people have health care issues they need to take care of – today, yesterday, a month ago, or a year ago – but are crippled by the cost of treatment, and therefore are forced to do nothing.  As unemployment numbers continue to climb, more and more people are losing medical coverage from losing their jobs and being deprived of the income they need in order to cover medical costs and bills in the first place. The unemployment rate has been hovering just under 10 percent – and that’s just what’s been reported by the Labor Department. If this number goes up, 13 million Americans will have lost their employer health insurance since 2007.

Many people could greatly benefit from having the option and ability to participate in alternative and preventative care, to keep their medical conditions from becoming worse. But under the status quo, that is simply impossible. This type of opportunity would not only prevent needless suffering and misery, but would save people thousands and thousands of dollars in future health care problems. We all know the longer we wait to take care of a health issue, the more acute and more expensive it becomes.

We need more than just a dependable plan – we need groups willing to promote and maintain a reliable system that provides a deliverable end result of better health care and ultimately, health for everyone. This system would include educational materials, health care events and consultations with knowledgeable providers, and willingness to use food as medicine as well as herbs and natural treatments for health issues.

If good, reliable coverage was available to the average citizen, health care problems will be addressed before conditions become a serious problem, and in some cases, in plenty of time to eliminate a fatal illness from taking hold and ending someone’s life – such as cancer or diabetes – even heart disease. Coverage for every man, woman, and child should be available, and it should accommodate for the type of treatment specific to the individual’s wants and needs.

As it stands, those insured have no choice but to accept coverage from bloated insurance companies who make money hand-over-fist while at the same time deny pre-existing conditions, refuse necessary treatments, and  increase premiums, co-pays , deductibles and various out-of-pockets costs on an annual basis. These same systems also favor reactive treatments over preventative ones.  How can any of us survive in such a system? We need to stop accepting expensive, reactive care from health care providers who fail to understand the holistic component that is so integral to the improvement of our health as a nation. We must demand that the methods and ways which have been in place for so many years and have brought ill results be altered and geared toward prevention, nutrition, and proactive measures.

Finally, we must demand that emphasis be placed on implementing a truly sustainable health and food system. To start, we would need a program which would allow for all the accountable players in the equation from the agricultural sector to be acknowledged, from removal of components that are causing added health issues and health safety (i.e., factory farms, genetically modified organisms, irradiation, pesticides and other toxins), to follow-through and definitive action from the newly formed Food Safety Working Group.

This, I ask as a hard-working American citizen, taxpayer, mother, and wife for myself, my family, and for all residents of our great nation.

Sincerely,

-Raine J.E. Saunders

Boise, Idaho

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To make your concerns known to the current decision-makers, visit Prescription for Change.

This post is listed on Food Renegade’s Fight Back Fridays page as part of their carnival of food posts. Visit Food Renegade and take a look at the other good blogs and sites listed there.