Since then-candidate Obama began promising us all “Change we can believe in” and, as part of that picture, universal healthcare, I have been wondering what that healthcare would mean to those millions of us who routinely choose the “alternative” route to healing.

And, as a quick aside, let me say that I have always resented the use of that word “alternative” when applied to homeopathy, acupuncture and other forms of treatment that do not march in lockstep with the allopathic concept of medicine.  Just by allowing the use of the term alternative, we allow for all other forms of medical philosophy and practice to be marginalized.  To be defined in terms of the allopathic “norm.”  And, as there is nothing “normal” about allopathic medicine, save the fact that it is culturally dominant, I reject the term alternative and will do what I can to stamp out its current usage.  Therefore, in all future postings, I will use the word “holistic” in its place.  Because one of the major differences between homeopathic and allopathic medicine is this concept of holism.  Homeopathic treatments are holistic in the sense that they are “whole being” treatments.  Allopathic practitioners work from the equally jovial and nonsensical notion that they can treat one or two aspects of the being in something of a vacuum–that they can treat one part of the body without impacting the whole.  (For an example of this sort of thinking, slam your finger in a car door and see how you feel–does that fact that only that small part of your body is wounded impact the rest of your being as well or not?  Do you feel the pain only in that finger or throughout your arm, you body?  Does it affect your mood as well? )

Okay, this brings us to  Executive Order 13544, an order that was signed by our President this last summer and an order that gives new powers both to the dreaded FDA and to the Department of Health and Human Services.  These two departments have now, in compliance with the United Nations’ Codex Alimentarius, been given the power to decide which vitamins and supplements and which forms of alternative–there’s that word again!–are safe and efficacious and which should be removed from the marketplace.  In the name of “our own good”, a government agency that have itself proven to be both ineffective and unsafe is now deciding what is safe and effective FOR US.  (The benign-sounding purpose of the Codex is to give the entire planet access to untainted food, water and medicine.  All well and good.  However, the way it is being enacted in the United States is neither well nor good, as we shall see.)

I have issues with this:

First, I have an issue with anything that gives the FDA more power.  Most especially since they are the body that brought us poisoned eggs, and who made us fear salads, as they are filled with foodstuffs–from lettuce to spinach to tomatoes to spring onions–that have, in recent times, been found to contain harmful toxins.  Now, no doubt, any spokesman for the FDA would portray them as well-meaning and overburdened.  This may be true, but the fact that they already seem to have more “on their plates”  (forgive the pun) than they can handle means to me that they don’t need any new tasks.  Indeed, since they are so overburdened with their well-doing, I suggest we give them all a nice, long vacation and set up a new system that safeguards us from the true threats of tainted foodstuffs and from medication (you see the ads for them day and night on TV) whose side-effects include “coma”, “death” and other startling developments.  In other words, if we are going to sign onto the Codex initiative, let’s actually do what it is supposed to do.

Second, I am wary of this whole process because the panel that is being assembled to judge the quick and the dead in the natural health community is comprised of only allopaths, of proponents of standard Western medicine.  Natural, holistic or “alternative” medical practitioners and providers are not being given a voice.  In a nation in which we lag behind that entire planet with it comes to healthcare, especially natural and holistic healthcare (homeopathy, for instance, is considered a form of standard medicine across Europe, Africa and most of Asia and South America), we are being asked to allow a panel of doctors whose training includes precious little in terms of nutrition, much less homeopathy and acupuncture, to judge the efficacy of something  that they do not understand and have been trained to reject?  Excuse me, but after thirty years of studying, teaching and writing about homeopathy, I think I know a bit more about it than a doctor who still uses the word homeopathy interchangeably with “herbal” or “holistic”.  Note that, while the official government site tells us that the panel will be fair, balanced and diverse, it has yet to prove to be any of those.

Further, I have an issue with the fact that the homeopaths, et al, are not being given a voice because it would not be deemed acceptable in any arena save healthcare.  You could never, for instance, have a panel on “Faith in America” and have only Christians or only Jews on the panel.  And you could never have any political panel the contained only Democrats.  In all other aspects of life and the debate of what is or is not appropriate a mix of voices and viewpoints is called for.  Certainly it is called for here.  And yet, the FDA, the HHC and the precious panel of “experts” are being given the reigns and they may soon make decisions that millions of us will regret.

Do you want to consider a world in which, when you go to your health food store to buy a vitamin or a supplement, you can only buy the chemical equivalent of one because the FDA has found that the natural supplement is not standardized enough–because it is natural?  Do you want to be denied not only the right to buy homeopathic remedies (now over-the-counter medications) or to see a homeopathic physician because the FDA has determined that homeopathy is unsafe or unscientific?  Is it right that those who know the least about a philosophy and practice should have the right to deny it to those who freely choose it and find it both safe and effective?

And, again, do we want the FDA of all agencies, to have the right to judge whether or not anything is safe and effective?  They have proven themselves to be incompetent when it comes to guaranteeing the safety of our food.  Now are we going to let them determine the safety of alternative medicine as well–medicines that have not been shown in any way dangerous or threatening to the commonweal?  It seems to me that giving the FDA more power to determine what is and is not safe to consume is as smart a move as giving the family dog the keys to the car.

I, for one, not only want the right to choose for myself what medicine I will use and what medicine I will not (Hint:  it advertises on TV that its side-effects include coma and death) and, further, I want the medicine that I choose to be fully covered by the insurance that Obamacare will force me to buy.

I believe that Candidate Obama had a vision of a great nation.  But I also believe that that vision has not come to pass.  He has forced through his healthcare plan in a way that will force me to buy health insurance, but will not in any way inhibit the insurer from charging me whatever he wants to, given my age and health.  And now, with the signing of Executive Order 13544, Obama goes a step further and seeks potentially (and please note the word “potentially”–I do not wear a tinfoil hat or typically have paranoid delusions, I am merely noting a potential turn of events) to sweep away a system of health and healing that actually works, that benefits millions of Americans.

This is surely the time to make some noise.  To call our Congressman and Senators’ offices.  To contact the media, to write letters.  To dance the blogger’s dance on the internet.  It is also a very good time for those who don’t understand the principles of holistic healthcare–specifically homeopathy (I am biased, I admit it)–to educate themselves and decide for themselves whether or not we as a nation can afford to hand this all away.  The British have recently been faced with the same question.  In the end, after much debate (they actually allowed all voices to be heard), they decided–homeopathy remains a part of the British health system and is fully covered by national healthcare.  We need to make the same wise decisions here and make them quickly, before it is too late.

 

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