Money, Politics, and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy – Part I

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There is nothing more difficult to carry out, nor more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to handle, than to initiate a new order of things. For the reformer has enemies in all those who profit by the old order, and only lukewarm defenders in all those who would profit by the new order.

—Niccolò Machiavelli, The Prince and The Discourses

Money in politics is making our nation sicker, threatening our national security, and ultimately destroying the very economic prosperity the “money in politics” seeks to achieve.

It is undermining our capacity to care for our citizens and is threatening our global economic competitiveness in invisible, insidious ways. However, the links, connections, and patterns that promote obesity and chronic disease are clear.

The economic and social impacts are evident. As health care consumes an increasingly large percentage of our federal budget, the negative impacts of money in politics have become too alarming too ignore and never more obvious than in this election cycle of 2012.

It may seem odd to suggest that lobbying, and in particular Citizen’s United the Supreme Court decision that personifies corporations and allows unlimited corporate campaign contributions through political action committees, threatens our nation’s health. But it does.

If money rules politics then our nation is not protected from disease-causing frankenfoods, including soda and processed foods, or from unrestricted marketing of the lowest quality, sugar-laden foods to our children.

When money rules politics our agricultural lands, soils, and aquifers are depleted through oil-dependent industrial farming supported by billions in federal subsidies.

Depleting Nature’s and Human Capital

We are depleting nature’s capital — capital that once destroyed cannot be reclaimed.  One acre of arable land is lost to development every minute of every day. One pound of meat requires 2,000 gallons of water and produces 58 times more greenhouse gasses than one pound of potatoes.

It takes 7,000 pounds of grain to produce 1,000 pounds of meat. Irrigation is depleting our Ogallala Aquifer on the Great Plains 1.3 trillion gallons faster than it can be replenished by rainfall.

Three quarters of our fresh water (5 percent of all of the earth’s water) is used for agriculture, mostly to grow meat for human consumption.

If we all switched out one meat meal for one vegetarian meal each week, it would be the equivalent of taking half a million cars off of the road.  Driving a Hummer and being a vegetarian produces less greenhouse gases than driving a Prius and eating factory farmed meat.

Yet when the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) encouraged us to participate in “Meatless Mondays”, the National Cattleman’s Beef Association lobbied the government to retract their recommendation. And they did.  Money in politics.

During health reform, I mentioned to Senator Harkin that all we wanted was for science to become policy.  With a wry and somewhat sad smile he said, “That would be nice.”

Our energy policies support Orwellian “clean coal” that still discharges mercury, lead, and particulate matter into our air promoting heart disease, cancer, and more. Our politically handicapped Environmental Protection Agency allows environmental policies to permit untested chemicals and toxins to permeate our lives.

Should we worry when the average newborn has 287 known toxins in their umbilical cord blood that have been linked to neuro-developmental disorders such as attention deficit disorder and autism that now affect one in six of our nation’s children? What are the social and economic costs of that?

The reason we have these policies is not that they were encouraged and supported by citizens through a democratic process or grass roots movement.  The policies are there for one reason – they were encouraged, shaped, lobbied for and even often ghostwritten by industries whose sole focus is profit not public welfare.

Money in Health Care: Perverse Incentives

If money rules politics, then the most profitable medical therapies, not the best treatments, are researched and implemented. If hospitals and doctors are paid for volume and piece work, they produce more visits and procedures but not better health.

If hospitals suddenly cut cardiac bypasses and angioplasties in half by implementing proven intensive lifestyle therapies they would go bankrupt. If Medicare refused to reimburse for cardiac bypasses or angioplasties proven to work in less than 5 percent of patients who receive them and instead reimbursed for intensive lifestyle treatment programs for those with heart disease and diabetes, health care costs, as estimated by the Cleveland Clinic, would be reduced by almost one trillion dollars over the next ten years.  But since lifestyle treatment is not reimbursed it is not profitable, so it is not done.

At a recent medical innovation conference, I met with the head of Walgreen’s new Take Care Clinic and was impressed with their focus on education and service.  But when I asked if they would implement a program that could be delivered through their clinics that could reduce prescription medication use by half, he was not interested.  They want to appear to do the right thing, but they do not do it.

The head of health information technology from Partner’s Health Care, the Harvard group of hospitals, shared at a medical administrators meeting that the head of the Harvard health system rejected a proposal to connect two hospitals by a data line that would save 15 percent in labs costs by reducing redundant lab tests.  They couldn’t afford a 15 percent reduction in lab billing.

Perverse economic incentives drive policy and medical decisions, they are not in the best interest of the patients, and certainly do not have better health outcomes. Violation of public trust, the sacred covenant between our elected leaders and our people, results from money in politics.

Whatever happened to government by the people, for the people and of the people?  My friend, lawyer, and environmental advocate, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., calls our political systems a “corporate cleptocracy.” “Communism,” he says, “is when the government runs business, and fascism is when business runs government.”

Our nation’s health and economy is close to entering an irrevocable downward spiral. It is difficult for most of us to grasp the immensity of the politically sanctioned economic forces at work that threaten our health. This quiet, dangerous set of forces in play in American society fuels the explosive and uncontrolled growth of disease in America.

Accounting for Sustainability: The True Cost of Money in Politics

The basic fact is that one third of our economy profits from making people sick and fat.   The food industry sells products scientifically proven to kill more people than cigarettes, while our health care industry profits from providing more volume of care focused on medication and procedures, not better health.

Certain facts are clear.  Lifestyle induced chronic disease is on the rise and accounts for nearly 80 percent of our health care costs.  Nearly 70 percent of our population is overweight or obese.

Almost one in four teenagers have pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, up from only 9 percent in 2000 and almost zero in 1960. Most chronic disease is best prevented and even treated with lifestyle medicine and a systems approach to disease.

By 2042 one hundred percent of our federal budget will be needed to pay for Medicare and Medicaid.  Today, 1 in 3 Medicare dollars is spent on type 2 diabetes.  This is unsustainable.

The true cost of our food and agriculture, energy, education, and environmental policies on our health is not even measured in the equation.  Our government subsidizes the production of low-cost high-fructose corn syrup and trans-fats from soybeans (used to make soda and French fries), but we don’t do an accurate cost accounting of the health, environmental, and energy impact of producing those crops in the way we do, or the health impact on the children and adults who consume those products.

Prince Charles gave a speech at the Future of Food conference at Georgetown University in 2011.   He describes a new kind of cost accounting, “Accounting for Sustainability”, that expands our accounting processes to include the interconnected impact of financial, health, environmental, and social impact on long term “profits”.

Unless we do a true cost accounting for social, environmental, and health sustainability, I fear that simply addressing healthcare reform with the new Affordable Care Act, an effort that righted many wrongs in health care, but without addressing the systems-wide issues across all sectors of society that affect the health of our nation and healthcare costs, will fail.

Supporting Innovations to Create Health

Areas outside of the direct domain of healthcare such as intellectual property laws, for example, could encourage private industry to develop products and services that promote health and wellness rather than generate profit from sickness and obesity.

Education policies must support transformation of schools as incubators of health rather than disease. (How can we feed our children to prepare them for learning and thriving when so many school kitchens have only deep fat fryers and microwave ovens?)

Government agencies and departments with domains that impact health such as the Departments of Agriculture, Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection Agency, Transportation, Education, Defense, and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), etc, must be coordinated to create a culture of health and wellness.

I have no doubt that when applied properly the personalized systems-medicine approach based on functional medicine is a scalable model for medical practice, education, and research. It can dramatically improve outcomes while reducing costs, providing a real solution to our healthcare crisis which I have described in previous blogs.

Creating the incentives to build this approach and delivering it through integrated healthcare teams, to include health educators/coaches driven by the operating system of functional medicine, has to be part of the solution.

There is also an urgent need to mobilize the power of social networks and communities for peer-supported health programs utilizing health champions and community health workers who can help us cope with another growing problem: the serious deficit of general-practice doctors available to care for all the sick.  If we in health care can’t cure the patient, perhaps the community can.

People helping people armed with the right information on how to create health can disrupt health care, improve outcomes, and reduce costs.  This is how Saddleback Church got 15,000 people lose over 250,000 pounds in 10 months — with people helping people in community based programs like The Daniel Plan.

Ending Industry Influence in Science and Medicine

Even if we get everything else right in healthcare reform—such as payment reform, universal access, electronic records (currently conceived of as simply transferring the 19th- and early 20th-century medical records system to the computer rather than facilitation of a fundamentally new way to practice medicine based on whole-systems analysis), reduction of medical errors, and malpractice reform—none of our efforts will matter unless we address the true drivers of cost and chronic disease.

And among the biggest drivers of all are the complex, industry-driven government policies that promote obesity, disease, and agricultural and environmental degradation.

This is a national security issue that threatens our standing in the world. As President Obama stated, “Fixing healthcare is no longer only a moral imperative, but a fiscal imperative.”

But opponents will not go quietly into the night. As reported in The New York Times, there is an insidious presence of pharma and industry in medical education, research, and practice — a presence that prevents the best evidence on lifestyle medicine from becoming the standard of care.

Concern about this dynamic is what led Harvard medical students to petition for their right to an education free of pharma bias and to ask for limits on consulting and payments by pharma to faculty members (one of whom had 47 industry affiliations and many of whom received tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars in payments).

A recent JAMA review that examined the basis for clinical practice guidelines for evidence-based medicine (EBM) found that only 11 percent of guidelines are based on firm clinical evidence (level of evidence A); most are based on “expert” opinion (level of evidence C).

Of guidelines with good evidence (level A), only 19 percent are Class I recommendations (general agreement among experts that treatment is useful or effective.)

These clinical practice guidelines considered “best evidence” are heavily influenced by what we have done (driven by pharma), not what we should do (based on evidence for systems medicine.)

Medical device and pharma industries routinely pay consulting fees and payments to physicians who promote their products, often without evidence of benefit or for off-label uses.

Eli Lilly and Company (Indianapolis, Indiana) recently paid $1.4 billion to settle criminal charges that it illegally marketed Zyprexa, an anti-psychotic drug, and Pfizer (New York, New York) set aside $2.3 billion in fines for illegally marketing Bextra.

Dr. Peter Green, the world’s expert on gluten, found in a study of 10 million subscribers to CIGNA (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) that correctly diagnosing celiac disease would result in a 30 percent reduction in healthcare costs by decreasing utilization (oral communication, March 2009), yet this is not advanced because there is no pharma marketing for testing or treatment of gluten intolerance, something that affects 3 to 10 million Americans, only 1 percent of whom are diagnosed.

The corruption of our political process by money has many unintended consequences, only a few of which are catalogued above.  Money in politics has corrupted virtually all the systems and institutions upon which our collective health depends.

That’s why what we need now is nothing less than a revolution in the way our country thinks about health to include, as Prince Charles implores, “Accounting for Sustainability” – sustainability for our health, our environment, our communities, our economy, and our nation all of which are at risk today.

Certain ideas, while radical, seem obvious to me if we are to create real change and avert disaster. Horse-and-buggy makers gave way to the automobile, and eight-track manufacturers gave way to the iPod.

While some industries will fade, others that promote health and wellness will flourish. These are the changes that will shift our system from sick care to healthcare. A coordinated effort at the White House level is necessary to successfully create a culture of health and wellness and transform our healthcare system.  That is the task of our next President.

Stay tuned for Part II of this discussion to find out what you can do to be part of the solution.

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below – but remember, we can’t offer personal medical advice online, so be sure to limit your comments to those about taking back our health!

To your good health,

Mark Hyman, MD

REFERENCES

Snyderman R, Langheier J. Prospective health care: the second transformation of medicine. Genome Biol. 2006;7(2):104.

Wilson D. Harvard Medical School in ethics quandary. The New York Times. March 2, 2009. Available at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/03/business/03medschool.html?scp=3&sq=harvard&st=Search. Accessed March 9, 2009.

Tricoci P, Allen JM, Kramer JM, Califf RM, Smith SC Jr. Scientific evidence underlying the ACC/AHA clinical practice guidelines. JAMA. 2009;301(8):831-841.

Harris G. Crackdown on doctors who take kickbacks. The New York Times. March 3, 2009. Available at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2009/03/04/health/policy/04doctors.html?_r=1&ref=health. Accessed March 9, 2009.

Adams KM, Kohlmeier M, Zeisel SH. Nutrition education in U.S. medical schools: latest update of a national survey. Acad Med. 2010 Sep;85(9):1537-42.

 

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72 Responses to Money, Politics, and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy – Part I

  1. Russ Maksuta September 6, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Dr. Hyman,

    It’s all about the $$. Reading the China study was quite enlightening.

    I have read your Ultramind Solution book. Just like it says in your book…one day (almost 10 years ago now)… I woke up and my brain was broken.

    I am currently working with a local DAN Dr. to cure my fatigue/brainfog issues. My diet has been good for the past 4 years – I eat a whole foods – gluten free low fat vegan diet. I do supplement B12, D, Milk Thistle, 1 bottle vegan DHA/EPA and ensure I eat plenty of flax/chia seeds. My health has improved dramatically… but I still have this pesky fungal infection. It seems my diet has resolved the dysbiosis? issue I once had… my digestion is good now.

    He has me on Diflucan for 1 day now – it seems to be working… WOW… I am experiencing die off. I just got out of the infared sauna – feel quite a bit better…. hopefully this will pass in about a week????

    I really appreciate your work,

    Russ.

    • ffonz September 12, 2012 at 11:01 pm #

      Russ….

      Borax is a really great anti-fungal… both internal and external.
      The Borax has ‘Boron’ in it which is the good active element.

      Internal…..
      Take a pinch of Borax in one drink for the day.. or at most two.
      Not only good anti-fungal but also binds to bad fluoride and as
      it is passed through the body’s waste disposal systems it takes
      the bad fluorides out with it.

      External…..
      I use a guesstimate amount — 1 to 2 teaspoons — per liter warm
      water (to help dissolve the Borax more quickly) and use this as a
      body wash after I’ve showered… and any other external use you
      may want to put it to for personal reasons. Helps rid jock itch and
      it doesn’t matter if you want to ‘up’ the Borax ratio double or more.

      Never been one for vegetarian or vegan mindsets but on the other
      hand I’ve got a healthy regard for meat “in moderation” for healthy
      eating and staying away from anything fried in particular. Frying is
      the worlds worst way to cook foods.. especially meats of any kind.

      Here’s a couple of sites you might want to check out and make a
      copy of their information for future reference….. if they don’t get
      set as live links you’ll have to copy/paste into your browser.. and
      activate them from there…

      MMS NEWSLETTER ::
      http://mail.mmsnews.org/display.php?M=11380&C=81cbae6c79818b911a29af1b776459c2&S=36&L=1&N=11

      COMPILATION OF VARIOUS HEALTH TIPS / USES ::
      http://joytolive.info/

      Just the tip of the health and wellness and fitness and flexibility etc etc ‘iceberg’… but it’s a start.

      Enjoy Life…

      ffonz.. B)
      =============================================================================
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  2. archie tucker September 9, 2012 at 1:48 pm #

    Wow, Mark:
    That was a great write-up.
    lloyd

  3. Kris September 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

    Preaching to the choir, count me in!!!

  4. Jane Twitmyer September 12, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    Your enthusiam is terrific!
    “You never change things by fighting existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
    Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983)

  5. Cynthia Briedis September 12, 2012 at 5:11 pm #

    I just posted this article on Pinterest with the following comment:

    “Money, Politics, and Health Care: A Disease-Creation Economy – Part I by Mark Hyman, MD.” This is important information I believe to be true. I am a type 2 diabetic, my husband has thyroid disease, all 3 of my children have ADHD, & my son has autism. I believe contaminants in our food & water supply are at least partly to blame. If you look at my boards you can see that many of them are related. Our government knows this, but values the money from big business more than our health. -CAB

    I wish I could have said more, but this is all that room permitted. I have over 700 followers on my boards and I hope it will draw at least a few to this article.

  6. Karen Valencic September 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    Thank you, Dr. Hymen.

    What a great article. Any specific suggestions how we can help things change? I will share your article. And, I very much appreciate your work. I continually refer to your book, The Ultra Mind Solution. Karen

  7. Jim Jeffries September 12, 2012 at 5:36 pm #

    Bucky could say it well Thanks Twitmyer

  8. Barbara Oman September 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Dr. Hyman… great article. We need you in the Administration! So much work to do in so many areas – it’s overwhelming. Thank you for being the voice of many. You walk your talk. Please continue the fight and the top notch education you bring to all of us. Barbara

  9. ED Cary September 12, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    Dr. Hyman — you articulated so well the really challenging and really scary aspects of ‘healthcare’ today in America. Overcoming these challenges seems overwhelming. Attitudes, practices, beliefs — everything including our education, political, and even family systems — need to change. That kind of huge transformational societal shift typically takes at least a generation. But we are running out of time. How can we reach a tipping point more quickly? Hopefully there will be people whose voices will be heard above the din. People who will lead the way somehow. Let’s hope the rest of us are ready to follow . . .

    Thank you for speaking out and doing all you can. I don’t know you, but I have a feeling you won’t stop. Don’t.

    E

  10. Judi Hoffman September 12, 2012 at 5:50 pm #

    I totally agree with what you are saying. Education is key. Greed is hampering our health. Your enthusiasm is refreshing and contagious! I don’t see any immediate changes in our health care system. I think President Obama has his heart in the right place – the issue is just so big and so multi-faceted that what he has done is just a baby step. I am guarded in my belief that government is going to help the majority of the people. We can only voice what we know and hope that our words get through!

  11. Candy September 12, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    Companies provide what the public wants. Perhaps changing education would make people change what they want. You seem to take the opposite view. People wanted food fast and got what they asked for. People wanted to eat sweet stuff and companies provided it. No one forced people to eat poorly. Companies could make just as much money selling healthy food but people are not asking for that. So EDUCATION seems to be a better approach than to having the government take over everyones life. I am all for freedom and government control does NOT provide freedom. And this country was tasked at providing food for the world. They had to look at ways to make that happen. For example: Increasing yield from farm land, etc. It’s easy to point the finger at corporations but that is not the whole picture. Gluten was added to grain to increase yield and provide soft fluffy bread the people wanted to eat. More water was required to produce those crops. You need to stop demonizing corporations for providing what people are asking for. If no one wanted donuts, Krispy Kreme donuts would have a hard time making it….but wait, they are having a hard time making it today. Because people are learning that eating donuts is not good for you.

    • Fiona September 12, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

      Gluten is not “added” to grain, it is a protein or complex of proteins (depending on how scientifically you define it) inherent in certain grains. The gluten content of wheat has increased exponentially over the last 40 years through hybridization. The original motive was sound…we were the breadbasket of the world and by increasing the protein content of wheat we could feed the world and keep people from starving. Well, things didn’t exactly work out that way and to top if off, lots of people now have problems with wheat.

      It’s hard to say if people created the demand for processed food or food companies created the demand by making it available, cheap, convenient and “tasty” (matter of opinion.) As bad as it is, I agree that people are free to choose and should remain so. If it really is market driven, then we all just need to make better choices of our own volition because it’s the right thing to do for ourselves, our family and our world. It should not be legislated by any means.

      • Tanuja December 13, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

        Totally agree – personal responsibility all the way. We all have to make choices…we just need to make the right ones. I do have a problem with subsidies because they artificially lower the price of goods making certain other items seem “out of reach” or unaffordable.

    • Cheryl September 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

      Americans wanted food that was fast. This desire grew rapidly in the 1960’s as more women entered the workforce and were no longer at home cooking. It was the corporations that turned the concept into junk food that many became addicted to. Salads are just as easily fast foods, Usually a high profit item is soda, so they discount their sandwiches and charge a lot for drinks. People did not demand high fructose corn syrup to replace sugar. It was good for profit. Stop being so naive. Other examples: When the government got tough on tobacco sales and advertising, the uped their oveseas marketing. Makers of baby formula encouraged foreign mothers to abandon breast feeding in favor of bottles of formula. Outsourcing jobs and manufacturing to China was not a way to improve products, it was a way to improve profits through lower wages and lack of oversight o toxins. I fear buying toys for my grandchildren that are made in China but their are few choices left. Do you really think Americans asked for this?

    • ClintPh.D. September 16, 2012 at 11:57 am #

      The argument that manufactures produce what people want sounds persuasive and seems to be based
      on logical cause and effect. But this is an illusion presented by the educated to deceive the ignorant.
      When you understand the foundation of what has caused these people to purchase what they
      purchase you realize it was the manufactures in the first place. When you spend a billions of dollars advertising
      and marketing your bad products to people that don’t see the alternatives, they don’t buy because the want to, they buy
      because they don’t know better or don’t have better choices.

      People bought cigarettes because the cigarette companies spent million or billions
      to con them into thinking smoking was OK and even healthy and cool. But here is an even clearer example
      people in low income communities don’t eat at fast food restaurants because they choose to, they eat their
      because their are no other options they can take advantage of.

      In other words big manufactures know how to shape the desire people for the products they want to sell, and
      if good people with the truth don’t offer better options that can be used how much of the buying decision
      is in the hands of the consumer verses the shaping of the manufacture – consumers have little to say. And
      one last example: McDonald’s starts the shaping of the minds of children with Kids meals, they then grow up
      unconsciously desiring McDonald’s because their minds were shaped years ago. So, now blame it on the parents.

      • Tanuja December 13, 2013 at 1:46 pm #

        Interesting. I don’t agree. Your comment is implying somehow that Americans don’t have a choice or that they’re too stupid to think for themselves. However, I do agree that propaganda and a massive brain-washing scheme – presented by both private industry and government in tandem are to blame for copious disease and general complacency. BUT, that being said, we are free-thinking human beings. I educated myself using the internet and books and by networking. I turned off the television, stopped reading newspapers, watching the news, listening to radio etc. I learned all about the governments involvement in our food system. I educated myself on nutrition and food and wellness. I was able to change my life. Now, I do watch television, but only streaming from various sources so I can avoid commercials. Also, since I had a break from media for a while, I am now able to easily laugh at the way shows try to “sell” things to us – including ideas. We need to put more responsibility back into the hands of the people and not coddle anyone. We have choices to make. We know what to do. It’s just that we need to start trusting ourselves again and stop relying on someone else telling us what to do!

  12. Craig Nelson September 12, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    For the sake of government reimbursement and public assistance programs we must distinguish the categorical differences between “disorders” (largely lifestyle induced) and “disease”. Standards of healthy lifestyle recommendations are best widely distributed by DHHS…and updated as evidence and proactive health maintenance research outcomes through research are available. We all need to be supplied with the same ground rules for health so we can intelligently make better choices.

  13. David September 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm #

    Each person must take responsibility for his or her own health. Doctors are only consultants.
    Corporations will thrive unless we prove we don’t need them.
    The power is in the individual, but it must be exercised!

  14. Rebecca September 12, 2012 at 6:54 pm #

    I appreciate this analysis. To me, the healthcare system, which I’ve worked in for 30 years, 10 in my own private practice, began to erode 25 yrs ago when the business model began to supercede quality of care. Very similar to the financial markets, where the folks in the middle are determined to make a profit at the risk of other’s long-term health. I am very relieved that with the Affordable Care Act many of those for-profit-only companies will cease to exist because now they will be legally able to be audited, and their profits won’t be high enough to reinvest the money that they’ve used vs. spending it on patients. It’s a start. And if we can keep President Obama in office by voting for him this election cycle, I think it will only get better. Fraud will not be tolerated. That money alone will help support our health as a nation. The rest of it? Eating whole, preserving our water supplies, detoxifying environments? It has to be done locally to be effective. So voting for conscious local leaders will make a difference in the next decade, vs. all of that big money spent on “place-holders” who are put there by corporations to do their bidding. I think it’s exciting where we are heading, especially with the capacity to connect and share information. It could be more beautiful than ever.

  15. Mark Will September 12, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    Dr Hyman’s article makes perfect sense to me. My father was surgeon, and watching his approach to his medical practice and private clinic is what drove me in search for alternative forms health care. His answer to everything was “take a pill.” He also died in middle age from issues stemming from type2 diabetes (as did my mother, also). Eventually I realized that the best medicine comes served up on a breakfast/lunch/dinner plate. We are what we eat. It’s as simple as that.

  16. Daniel September 12, 2012 at 7:19 pm #

    Thank you, Dr. Hyman. I have followed your work and have tremendous respect for you. To all readers, let us not be fooled or frightened by the depth of this crisis. It is the course that the New World Order / Illuminati has set for us, the useless eaters. This is real and scientific, proven through and through. Look up Agenda 21 and open your minds and hearts to the truth. We are all in this together, we are honorable and brave. We must protect our species against this abominable attack by facing it head on! We cannot allow children and innocents to pay the price for our apathy. Look within and rise up to what we all know is right! We can win back our country with courage, wisdom and righteous love for all, but sadly our window of time is now very short. The TRUTH is there for anyone who wants to research it, don’t wait until it is too late.

  17. Michele September 12, 2012 at 7:24 pm #

    Absolutely wonderful article! This is so right on about so many different aspects of what’s going on. I love it! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  18. laura lehrhaupt September 12, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Thank you for summing it up so well. I feel exactly the same way. Our food supply is our life line. If we are fed crappy food we will be crappy. The government needs to stop subsidizing corn and soy and start subsidizing kale, chard and spinach. I don’t think the government should tell us WHAT to eat but there is a responsibility to provide healthy, non GMO food. Not sure if corporations give us what we want or turn us on to what we want. I didn’t know I wanted an Iphone until they made one. Regardless, I believe many of our nations problems is tied to our poor health. I hope the next President will be bold and do something about it.

  19. Candis Cook September 12, 2012 at 7:43 pm #

    Healthcare for profit just doesn’t work. Clearly, it does not work. What we have today is “health-profit”, not health-CARE. The focus of healthcare today is to make money; it has little to do with actual health. There’s so much money pouring in to maintain and increase the profit; I just don’t know how we can turn this around and get sane. Thousands of people are dying while the profits pour in…The values of the healthcare industry are clear.

  20. Bill A. September 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Thanks to Doctor Hyman, I’ve lost 34 pounds since June 6, 2012, stopped eating wheat, gluten products, HFC and processed foods. I no longer have to constantly clear my throat and I also don’t need to use a sleep apnea machine.

    I taken my life back. Shame on Franken food producers and their supporters.

  21. Perry September 12, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    I agree with most of what you said, but from a more libertarian viewpoint. Corruption and lack of transparency in government will not be fixed by more and bigger government.

    Educating consumers and eliminating the third-party payor system for all but major medical costs using such mechanisms as Medical Savings Accounts and individually rating health insurance costs based on controllable health issues are free market ideas that can work. If I have good health habits I pay less for life insurance, should that not be true for health insurance as well?

    I believe that big government is inherently corrupt. “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men.”, Lord Acton

    I too am grieved at the poor health of our fellow humans, mostly self-inflicted.

    • Tanuja December 13, 2013 at 1:36 pm #

      I also agree with most of what Dr. Hyman says here. Personally, I am a Certified Holistic Health Coach and running for the US Senate in 2014 for the great state of Texas on a Libertarian platform. I agree with what you said – yes, industry has money in mind. But how is government any better if government gives into industry’s bribery? I think they’re both playing on the same field. Somehow private enterprise has more credit with me though because they are always finding ways to improve and are always up to meet consumer demand. I see how full Whole Foods Market is and how many new products come out on their shelves and these are NOT coming from the government. They are coming from individuals like you and me. Dr. Hyman decided to go into Functional Medicine which I think is AWESOME. However, most doctors educated here have no idea about nutrition or government involvement in our food supply. In fact, I have several physicians who are my health coaching clients. Imagine that! Anyway, I think the government is a big mess and giving them more power is a big mistake.

  22. Shirley September 12, 2012 at 8:13 pm #

    So well put, Dr. Hyman! I am going to encourage our local newspapers to run your statement as an editorial (assuming they will contact you for agreement). One thing I would add is that rather than demonize meat eating, focus on the problem of meat production – factory farms and monocrops. If you go back to small farms where animals are part of the process for preparing and enriching the soil, and where their food is as nature intended – not grains for ruminants – you can reduce the amount of water required to raise animals, reduce the amount of fertilizers needed to grow crops. Fix the system as you have suggested and health, healthcare and access to it should be a problem no longer. Education is certainly a key – but not if it is education coming from the source of the problem. I’m a member of the Weston A Price Foundation (www.westonaprice.org) and nutrition science and education is our main mission.
    Retired RN, 35 years the sick care system.

  23. David September 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

    Citizen’s United can be overturned. We the people can do what our forefathers have done to right a wrong – we can ammend the Constitution. The creators of the Constitution knew that in the future, things would change so they wrote into the Constitution the provision that it could be ammended. Even Justice Scalia (who was among the signers of the Court’s 5-4 majority opinion) encourages amending the Constitution to reverse Citizens United. Corporations are creations of the government of the people and as such are regulated at the will of the people. There are several Bills in play before Congress. IMHO, H. J. Res. 88, introduced in the House by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) is the best and already has bi-partisan support. With this ammendment, we the people will again have some say over what role corporations are allowed to play in our society.

    Suggested reading: Corporations Are Not People by Jeffery Clements
    Suggested webiste: http://peoplesrightsamendment.org/

  24. j dial September 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Candy speaks of education. Verily. Monsanto has a book it’s distributing to schools to get kids started early on the wonders of GM foods.

    Someone else said that fascism is when business runs government. That is what we have here. Whether by government fiat (about as likely as flying pigs, at least until Monsanto gets to that) or education, increasingly privatized and otherwise run by reactionary school boards, our chances for changing the current ‘cleptocracy’ appear vanishingly scant.

    Not that we shouldn’t try, I reckon.

  25. Stephen Cobb September 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm #

    You tackle a lot of aspects of the current crisis at once, so it can take a while to digest…but I think you are correct. To me the proof that profit-based healthcare is destined to fail is found in under-diagnosed conditions–like hemochromatosis–for which there is currently no pill that big pharma can give you. There is no profit until there is a pill, no research unless it is driven by hopes of a blockbuster pill.

    Consider kidney ablation, which might cure essential hypertension. Great health news? Not in America because we spend billions per year on blood pressure meds, is revenue the pharmas will lose if there is a cure. So, of the 36 clinical studies open on this, just 3 are in the US. We don’t lead the world in seeking cures because they are hard to cash out.

    BTW, commenter Candy, how does your model work with cigarettes? People wanted them. Then we found they could kill you. But companies still advertise them. It’s not just about what people want, it’s about the marketing of things they don’t need. American’s didn’t ask for bananas to be imported, a bunch of businessmen figured they could beat out the domestic apple market with imported fruit grown by cheap labor on estate lands in under-developed countries. If they had not marketed the heck out of bananas…

  26. SUNNY THOMPSON September 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm #

    Please will you run for President ? or at the very least The Secretary of Health and human Services ??

    Please send this article to Obama, Biden, Hillary, everyone !

  27. Mike September 12, 2012 at 9:03 pm #

    Let’s not polticize the work you are trying to do. Disease isn’t partisan. Big Government is every bit as responsible for the disease epidemic as supposedly “evil” corporations. The USDA’s food pyramid and it’s unscientific hyping of grain based carbohydrates and low fat diets has been every bit as poisionous as unhealthy agricultural practices. Plenty of blame to go around. Health isn’t partisan, and health promotion is something big government agenices and big corporation both fail at miserably.

  28. Eva September 12, 2012 at 9:07 pm #

    Dr Hyman- your contributions are valuable and important for our current learning. Thank you for your work. We must look at all of these determinants of health that include so many causal links & include but extend beyong food and physical activity. Our nation’s incentives in general are for profit and not to support health and wellness. We are consumption based and treatment focused but we must change for the capacity to build a sustainable future.

  29. Marena Drlik September 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm #

    Thank you for so powerfully speaking your mind. This conversation is important and needs to get louder and bigger. I appreciate what you are doing in your work and your writing.

    I was amazed by the “recent JAMA review that examined the basis for clinical practice guidelines for evidence-based medicine (EBM)” statistic. If I had to guess at that number, I would have guessed 50% (just a wild guess but wanting to believe that clinical guidelines are based on clinical evidence at least to some degree). 11% is a very shocking number.

  30. Teresa Rose Lonardo September 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm #

    Powerfully & Well Stated!!!… THE HYMAN HEALTHCARE REFORM ACT FOR A FUNCTIONAL AMERICA!!! <3

  31. Michele September 12, 2012 at 10:08 pm #

    I resonate with your insight and expression about America’s politics, economy and Democratic culture. I would add however our leaders up to Obama have taken ideology into the federal level that is motivated by religion, those who believe events now and this election cycle has everything to do with the end of the world. The underlying current among the one percent stratus is very Forbes-ish, i.e. those with the most when they die win. It means they can buy the highest office in the land and the most powerful seat in the world. What we observe about “them” and expect from the the ‘trickle down’ effect of public service to the greater good is irrational and unreasonable. The other side of the equation are Americans who delegate their welfare to the very people who use it against you, the majority are passive and do nothing to change from the bottom up. As long as the scale of injustice is blind and man-made as unbalanced we will have imbalance in the world. I say take responsibility for your health; as a woman be aware of your body and respond to it rather than woman continually responding to man’s needs and a man’s concept about a woman’s body. Everything till now – medicine, livelihood – has been never been determined by what is best for the woman or a child over and above the needs of man. Do you really think men can legislate women’s choices and how a woman controls her own body? We are led to believe men can because women delegate choice and welfare to men. This is not about male bashing, it is about everyone taking responsibility for their own health which means less expectations from government and medical institution which are male dominated. For me taking responsibility is the first step and it will be harder still to take your life back once you waive your rights, your freedoms, and your choices for the majority of your life. We have met the enemy and it is us. Democracy is about the spirit of the people, as is human health. When you know your spirit – and intention – behind what you need and want all the rest of it – politics, economy, health – fall into place.

  32. Victoria McCurdy September 12, 2012 at 10:27 pm #

    Dr. Hyman, I am surprised that you have had only three responses to this excellent article. As a massage therapist and pilates instructor on the front line of preventative health, I do battle every day with current assumptions regarding nutrition and health care. I cannot tell you the number of times I have recommended your book, “The Blood Sugar Solution” and quoted other sources such as “Spark”, the book on the benefits of exercise. Many of my college friends went into the pay for service medical field. Their jobs, dealing with the end result of systemic illness, pay many times what mine does on the preventative end. I would not trade for the world. As my son enters his last year in college with a premed degree, I have inundated him with information on functional medicine. Thank you for your work.

  33. Ken Sproul September 12, 2012 at 11:10 pm #

    The federal government is necessary for many things, but healthcare and insurance is not one of them. We need to spend our money wisely. The worst thing we can do is entrust it with politicians and the wasteful government programs they create which become nothing more money pits and leverage or bribery for votes. Doctors like you are helping to educate the public on proper nutrition. The free market provides the public with a choice of products and services that we decide serves each of us best instead of a one size fits all central government approach. Choose the politicians that want the least amount control and power. I for one have had enough of politicians who think they know what’s best for me, my family, and my money.

  34. ffonz September 12, 2012 at 11:28 pm #

    Totally the best ever write-up I’ve had the good fortune to read about the real picture of what’s actually going
    on and going down with politics and politicians (not ALL… Ron Paul and a handful of others excepted)… and
    their coteries of psycho-pushers (pharma et al etc) and psycho-followers(‘political-party’ voters etc).

    Thanks for everything you’re doing to clear the pharma-fog out of our lives Mark.

    Enjoy Life… (the Mark Hyman way)…

    ffonz.. B)
    =================================
    []

  35. Ross September 12, 2012 at 11:36 pm #

    Dear Dr Hyman,

    You are totally correct as usual. I am a very concerned health coach & seeing the devastating effects of Type II Diabetes starting to impact the lives of many Australians (let alone the pre-diabetic population).

    Dr Daniel Goleman (Ecological Intelligence) makes some great suggestions on how we as consumers can tell manufacturers immediately what we think of their products via our smartphones i.e a grass roots campaign.

    Have you read a book called Reframe by Eric Knight. Makes compelling reading about how we tend to so narrowly focused on the immediate problem that we miss the bigger picture.

    So how we harness & replicate the Daniel Plan world wide?

    Let me know how we can all “LIFT WHERE WE STAND” and if we all do that we can turn this tragic situation around.

    Ross

  36. gerry camarata md September 13, 2012 at 12:57 am #

    Bravo Mark,

    Eloquently stated and timely delivered. I couldn’t agree more. We are at a crisis point in health care in the US.
    We must take this “whole” systems approach to this complex problem. The corruption is rampant and the consequences, if left unabated dire. Health Care reform will no longer suffice. As you say we need a health care revolution, and I believe you have lit the spark. Thanks for all your inspiration and effort.

    Your friend,
    Gerry .

  37. Audrey-Jane (formerly Mary) new life, new name September 13, 2012 at 1:50 am #

    As a patient in your clinic and now a member of Saddleback Church and a adherent of the Daniel Plan, I applaud your past and present efforts to get people to wake up and realize their power lies in their fork. There is not one law in this land that requires a person to eat anything but whole, unprocessed foods. As a mostly vegetarian (occasional small amounts of dairy and fish) I have, through the grace of God and using the brain He gave me, lost weight and dramatically improved my health. As you stated in the above article ( and have many times before), it is always all about money, money, money. When there is no disposable income left to spend because everyone is sick in bed, what will it matter? Quinoa is cheap and delicious. What is tastier than a juicy peach in season? On a cold winter’s night what is more comforting that a plate of mashed potatoes with a little real butter? I know I am preaching to the converted. Thank you for devoting your professional life to a subject that is vitally important to the survival of our planet. God bless you for your very important work.

  38. Devorah September 13, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    While I applaud the direction of your thinking, it is necessary to go further to achieve the results you are searching for. The culture of fast, convenient, and cheap which lies at the root of the profit driven consumer society will have to be challenged at its roots. So long as the American/western culture is based on these three things nothing will change for the better. I see no evidence that such a fundamental shift is on the immediate horizon although many well intentioned people are seeking to make personal commitments to such change.

  39. Frank Stanford September 13, 2012 at 8:03 am #

    Awesome summary of most things that are wrong with our health care delivery system. One glaring omission involves the totally unnecessary role health insurance companies play. They simply shuffle money around and take a cut. Their procedure and diagnostic coding systems and reimbursement schedules are simply copied from CMS.

    Thanks for all you do to advance the truth about health care in this country.

  40. Ruth September 13, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    Wow. Hot topic! Healthcare reform, economics and politics! I am thrilled to see M.D.’s jumping into this arena who actually care more about creating wellness rather than supporting the dying monstrosity we’re witnessing at present. More government involvement in this is (in my humble opinion) the worst-case scenario. Health and wellness is not something that can be regulated by some lifeless entity, programmed only to generate profit. I fully agree that education plays a huge role in any solution. We are an addictive society. As a country, we have allowed ourselves to be slowly and systmatically brainwashed into accepting decisions and policies made by misguided ‘leaders’ in the corporate (food/pharmaceutical) and political arena. It was a slow and gradual process which reminds me of the frog-in-boiling-water technique. It’s encouraging to witness people waking-up and becoming more aware of their right to choose for themselves…and to choose more wisely regarding their health and well-being. Thanks Dr. Hyman for being an informed and conscientious leader in this. As I tell all my clients, “It’s always darkest before the dawn.” We just need to keep building the *new-model* of healthcare instead of fighting against the old one. Love the Buckminster Fuller quote!! Let the old model (that clearly is NOT working) die (become obsolete). Have faith. We’re on our way!

  41. Amaryallis September 13, 2012 at 9:16 am #

    Should we blame the corporations or the politicians? Most of what you speak of could end next week if our politicians submitted and passed legislation to end the way campaigns are currently financed. We desperately need campaign finance reform. Nothing is going to change until the people we elect care about the people they are elected to represent. Currently, election to the house or senate is a fast track to personal financial gain for politicians. They have no incentive to change the status quo. Only when campaigns are financed by a limited amount of tax dollars, given to each candidate equally, will we be represented by politicians who are not simply pawns and benefactors
    of their contributors. Further, until our current political structure stops the purchase of votes through cradle to grave programs, which ultimately diminish personal responsibility, will individuals take personal responsibility for their health. I am all for safety nets for those truly in need. However, our current political structure has created a population where many rely on anyone and anything except themselves when it comes to their personal health.

  42. Barb September 13, 2012 at 10:07 am #

    It seems to me that money and politics were hand in hand long before citizens united. I truly believe we need to get the government out of our nutrition guidelines. If you follow the USDA food pyramid you will become obese and diabetic and we are teaching this to all of our students. We subsidize grains – why can’t we subsidize vegetables instead? The whole process is a public health disaster. The food corporations love the cheap grains and the drug companies want everyone to be sick and taking regular medications for the rest of their life. The physicians are taught which drugs to prescribe for which symptoms. No one looks to figure out “why” you have a particular symptom except maybe a naturopath and your insurance probably won’t pay for that. You’d better be willing to do your own research and heal yourself because our system isn’t going to help.

  43. Kay D September 13, 2012 at 11:44 am #

    The “frankenfoods” is the Marie Atoinette version of “let them eat cake”….of, course taken to a new level-dessert for the masses. Not addressing the fundamentals of what is causing the symptoms as Dr Hyman always addresses in his writings- the health care system will forever be broken . The incentive for not diagnosing promptly will continue to escalate adding to health care cost of specialists who have resorted to a hands off approach to patients….Very little in the way of physical examinations and eye to eye contact ; instead a rabbit hole of tests and more test leading the sick- sicker and broke with a “maybe” diagnosis and shorter lives. Leading healthier lives does often require medical intervention, but without a support system where nutritional counsel is not concerned excessive medical referral and beneficial vitamin supplementation is not downplayed as hocus pocus while bad FDA drugs linger on the market until the legal cost of keeping them there exceeds the profit. Yes, profit is the driving force. A thin line teetering on the moral compass of what defines profit and what defines greed. No matter what your circumstances the basics of getting to the root of change in health care means standing up to the toxins aka “cake” being offered and a true health care system that focuses on preventative care and treatment when needed.

  44. lawrenanne September 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Awesome (if somewhat depressing) article; it amazes me how many Americans are oblivious to the link between unlimited corporate influence and poor government decisions. And for all those readers who argue that “this is what the public wants” I would say that when I can’t control what my children are exposed to, and they are exposed to government-sanctioned corporate poisons and addictions, then it’s time for some regulating.

    To argue that this is “too much government control” is like arguing that shouting “fire” in a crowded theater is protected under freedom of speech. The government exists in order to protect the “Commons”; that is, to provide common defense that individually we cannot provide for ourselves. Whether this is against another government (i.e. military defense) or against corporations which pollute our common space or health (i.e. regulation), it is the reason for which our government exists.

  45. Terry B September 13, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

    Well said! Thank you for compiling this info and making it available.

  46. Andy September 13, 2012 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you for this post Dr. Hyman.

    This is exactly what I have been thinking since reading your books, but you put it into works better than I could have. I think the saddest, and most disgusting, result of the food for profit mentality is what it is doing to our children. They are developing obesity tendencies before they even get a chance to make healthy choices about food. And if Big Money is controlling the information, how will they ever learn what healthy choices are?

    I look forward to your next post with your thoughts on what I can do to change the path we are on. I think we at least owe it to our children to be sure they have the chance to grow up healthy and to enjoy healthy lifestyles instead of a life dictated by food advertising and a health care system that makes money off of their suffering.

    Shouldn’t every moral American feel this way?

  47. Owen Johnson September 13, 2012 at 4:32 pm #

    It was nice to see the comment about the growth of the Type II diabetes also taking place in Australia. Not because I don’t like Australians, but because so much of the focus is on the US, when the reality is it’s happening almost worldwide. I’m currently living in Mexico and the problem of diabesity is at LEAST as bad here as in the US and it has occurred during just about the same time frame as in the US and Canada.

    Mexican people are now addicted to sugar. It’s in almost everything and foods that to me don’t need to taste sweet, do. And those are the most popular foods of the masses here. Pastries, ice cream, cookies – things I used to enjoy on occasion – are so sweet tasting I don’t enjoy them. But sugar is addictive and after eating a little sweet treat, it makes you want more immediately. And the food processors respond to competition by adding more sugar to their products.

    Very few Americans have gained the health knowledge to know what not to eat and unfortunately, that percentage is even lower in Mexico. Which means the costs in dollars (or pesos) and lives will be that much higher here.

  48. Cat Kin September 13, 2012 at 5:51 pm #

    Lawrenanne, you’re finally someone who understands that we don’t all live on 40 acre farms anymore and can grow our own food, breath untainted air, or drink water from our own well. We depend on regulation by governments–and corporations have taken over these governments.

    With the 2009 Supreme Court ruling 5to4 for “Citizen’s United,” China, Saudi Arabia, Brazil or even Mexico can tell our governments how to govern…and do, but spending billions on our elections, actually paying bribes for their causes.

    If America is to protect her “capital” or environmental and human assets she must first overturn this decision by joining the national “Move To Amend” initiative (movetoamend.org) or, at the very least, work to elect democratic legislatures who will introduce bills to control international corporate rule that now exists in the House of Congress and is growing.

  49. Jeanmarie September 13, 2012 at 6:42 pm #

    Dr Hyman,

    I read the Ultra Mind Solution and through reading about your experience became aware of the dangers of MERCURY. In addition, my husband has a neurological condition that is likely caused by exposure to pesticides and MERCURY.

    MERCURY is one of the most dangerous and toxic elements that humans can be exposed to! So, what’s going on with the mandate to stop the use of incandescent light bulbs and replace those with the new ‘green — environmentally smart’ (MERCURY containing) bulbs? Yes, these bulbs contain MERCURY. It’s very clearly stated on the packaging ‘contains MERCURY’. It also says ‘dispose of properly’ or ‘follow disposal laws’.

    What is proper disposal? There’s no avenue for this is my community (I live in California). And, what would proper disposal be if it was available? How many millions of these MERCURY containing bulbs are being dumped in landfills every day? How long will it take for the MERCURY poisoning of the population become apparent? What’s going on?

    Dr Hyman, are you concerned? What can concerned people do about it?

  50. edgar coxeter September 13, 2012 at 10:38 pm #

    You are a prophet. Clinton should nominate you to be chief executive Mark !

    Edgar

  51. Elizabeth September 13, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Wow. I loved reading this and just wanted to say Yes!!!! Yes, yes! I’m a stay-at-home mom and reading about these things has not just become a hobby of mine but a passion. I want to help and am working to find ways to do so, even if it’s small things like sharing recipes, I’ve got to start somewhere! I agree that much of the change could be through education, though I think the govt could help a lot… And not by forcing people or regulating them but by reducing “sugar” marketing to children for example, and being more proactive about food– teaching better nutrition in schools?. In other words, it could help educate and reinforce, not regulate and control. The Daniel program is great! I’ve known some people who follow it. Thanks Dr. Hyman for your efforts… We need more people like you!

  52. Sue September 14, 2012 at 1:57 pm #

    I read a book years ago by John Robbins called “May All Be Fed”. And your article echoed his thoughts from 20 years ago. I want to feel hopeful that things will change in medicine! Maybe the new generations of docs and more informed consumers will create a demand for health and wellness support. It always comes down to what is profitable not what is best. Keep the great information coming.

  53. Trish September 16, 2012 at 1:33 am #

    Great article – we, the public, have no choice but to take charge of our own health and that starts with what we put in our body and if we choose to make sure our body moves. Preventative medicine isn’t happening for us – we have to make it happen. But way too many people get their “education” from ads on TV. W/out a system that rewards prevention it will never happen and you stated so many reasons that the “reward” is to pharma and other big medical establishments. Prevention as a true policy will not happen with our system as it is now and too many lobbyists do their best to see that it doesn’t happen. Self-education, self-awareness and eating food (instead of food-like substances) and getting regular exercise is a good start but that will not be enough. Right now our political system is holding us back from the changes we need to improve our health care ratings as compared to other countries around the world.

  54. Diane September 16, 2012 at 8:47 am #

    Wow ! What an insightful, timely article. Thank you Dr. Hyman for educating us all. I too am afraid we have moved from a government for the people, by the people to a government for the Corporation by the Corporation. Until this can be rectified and a system is created (or re-created) where citizens needs are put before corporate greed, making wellness a higher priority than corporate profit will be a long uphill battle. I enjoyed Robert F Kennedy Jr’s quote (and I paraphrase) Gov’t that runs business is communism, Gov’t that is run by business is fascism. How frightened I am to observe where our country is headed.

    Education is a key element. Americans in general want food to be cheap, plentiful and easy to prepare. I cant tell you how many people I talk with about eating a more healthy diet, that could just not be bothered. Heads in the sand !

    I also want to mention something that many of you are already aware – the average middle class family in the US may (or may perceive to have) have a difficult time feeding their family grass fed meat or organic vegetables. Not only is healthier food more expensive, it is also not as readily available as processed foods. While there is always the fresh vegetable section of the supermarket, what harm lurks in the pesticides that commercial vegetables are grown with?
    We need education programs at the community level. But, who will pay for these programs? Who will initiate them? How do we make this happen?

    To those who mention that corporations only produce what the people will buy.. hogwash !! Ever hear of marketing? You buy what the slick adverts tell you to buy.

  55. Carolyn Kay September 16, 2012 at 9:52 am #

    Interesting that you should mention Walgreens. I suggested to them in 2009 that they start a wellness program. They never got back to me, but I saw this yesterday in Crain’s Chicago Business:

    “healthy-lifestyle programs, like Walk With Walgreens”
    http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20120914/BLOGS01/120919975/what-walgreens-new-rewards-progam-means-for-shoppers

    They stole my idea with no reimbursement and no recognition. I’ll be happy to send you a copy of my original email to them.

  56. Candy September 16, 2012 at 4:39 pm #

    Fiona
    Excuse me for trying to say exactly what you said in a more simiplified manner. Yes, I know gluten is not ‘added’ but it was incorporated genetically. WOW.

  57. Frank September 27, 2012 at 12:53 am #

    Outstanding article and information! I have reposted this on my blog, with links back to your website. Please let me know if that is acceptable. If not, I will remove it.

    The blog is primitive, but is really just a place holder for me to accumulate interesting and useful articles on how everything is connected, and leading us down a very bad and possibly irreversible path of destruction of health, the environment, the economy, and more.

    I wish I had read your books and learned more about you earlier! I wrote an article on this on my blog in March 2011. Please visit post below to read.

    Here is the article:

    http://unsustainableliving.wordpress.com/2011/03/24/why-are-food-and-energy-prices-increasing-why-is-fresh-water-growing-scarce-simple/

    I would like to work together with you to discuss how we can begin to Reclaim our Health and our Economy! I am a long time vegan, gluten free, alcohol free, caffeine free, with a strong layman’s understanding of the rapidly growing epidemic of autoimmune diseases, the economic crisis, behavioral economics, behavioral psychology, and how they are all connected. Please keep up the outstanding work!

  58. John R. Dixon October 5, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    I received your blog a few weeks ago and read the title. It took me until now to respond because I knew from the title that I would be fired up after I read it. I also knew I would be frustrated. Frustrated because I knew what you were going to say (basically), I knew you would be right, and you are. Frustrated because I want things to change sooner than later. How do we get money and special interest out of U.S. healthcare? I don’t think money or special interests groups will ever go away. To think otherwise would be foolish. No sir, we are in for a difficult and protracted war to change this. I do belive it is one we can win. In my opinion the key lies with every healthcare provider. The last time I checked, you needed a prescription get a drug. If all providers “saw the light’ regarding treating causes not diseases that would be a HUGE step in the right direction. People that make really poor lifesytle choices need to be held to some level of accountability by their healthcare provider. We can’t just enable them by providing them with ‘a pill to cure their ill ‘ without making them take an active role towards prevention. The good news is that most people GET IT. They want to be healthy. So we just have to keep changing things one doctor and one patient at a time. Healthcare providers need to take the lead and step out and be brave, not afraid of what the staus quo might think or say about them. we need to not be afraid of telling the truth about what is going on. You have to give Dr. Hyman credit. He is not afraid to tell the truth. That’s what will get this mission accomplished.

  59. Chris November 12, 2012 at 3:28 am #

    I believe that many have and will benefit from the Affordable Care Act. I just wish that instead of the tax penalties, they would have place additional sin tax on cigarettes, alcohol and gambling.

  60. Profile photo of Bill
    Bill December 3, 2012 at 3:09 am #

    I can already see that I’m going to be very, very unpopular here, being a “conservative.” YIKES. How did that come out. :)

    I’m reading Dr. Hyman’s Blood Sugar Solution, and, I’m finding it…interesting. I believe much of what he’s saying, especially medically. It all makes sense. And I believe that we are seeing the rise in “diabesity” as a result of the change in our diets over the last 100 years. I believe that I personally, have been impacted by the over indulgence of simple carbs. And yes, my diet has gone from bad to pretty good, to awful, to pretty good to horrible. So I know the routine.

    I agree with the science, but folks, just like we can’t legislate morality, we can’t legislate healthy living. I was especially interested in Dr. Hymans comments about subsidies for Corn and Soy beans but not for basic healthy vegetables. I support the idea of dropping those subsidies. But I do NOT support additional government regulation over food production. Where does it end? The point is that government can only, and should only do so much. Not control every aspect of our lives. I’ll go for supporting programs that encourage and foster better food production, but there is just no way anyone is going make me support the creation of the Food Nazi’s.

    Anyway, I just about stopped reading the book because it was more of a political commentary than a health book. Bur for now, I’ll keep reading.

    WillySLC

  61. Jackie of all Trades SpoolTeacher December 12, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    So whenever someone talks about welfare recipients being leaches to society with their “Entitlement Attitudes”, we might ask, are you entitled to eat meat? Who are the real trouble makers of society and our domestic security?

  62. Kristofer Young, DC (@FxMedChiro) December 12, 2013 at 9:19 pm #

    The title alone is worth 5 stars!
    The content of the article is a clear sign that the author is a real doctor.

  63. joy December 13, 2013 at 12:09 am #

    I am a physician assistant. I adore your approach and have seen you talk. It is an overwhelming task to attempt to change someones habits in a 15 minute time frame. I am attempting to work on developing group visits to have ample time to better discuss the importance of diet and exercise with my patients. I must say though, that functional medicine conferences, or fellowships to integrative medicine are quite expensive. Being a single income household and attempting to pay for such imperative information is difficult when I have such large student loans. It is frustrating, and makes me feel as if I am not offering my patients the best that they deserve. What to do? Help me, help you Dr, Hyman!! There should be low income, rural area scholarships!

  64. Dr. Vicki Weissler December 13, 2013 at 1:14 am #

    Thank you Dr. Hyman. I am a big fan and I agree totally with your article. The greed, our corporatocracy, the buying of our politicians and our political system is destroying our health, the health of our children and grandchildren. And our planet. With pesticides, GMOs, the drugs that people are taking … We need a major revolution of thinking and action for people to wake up.

  65. Hopenjoy December 13, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Dr Hyman may end up in the newspapers as dying in a mysterious car crash for writing articles like these…”the powers that be” do not like this kind of truth to come out. I get alternately frustrated and motivated by articles like this…frustrated because the problem is so huge and overwhelming…and motivated because I HAVE THE POWER PERSONALLY to deal with it myself with how I eat, move, think and live.

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