" A Return to Healing" Blog: Fri, 03/12/2010 - 22:23 — BBelitsos
A great disappointment has descended upon the majority of Americans. Both the left and the right feel let down by the federal government’s strangely inadequate package of health care reforms that is about to be passed. We all witnessed last year’s spectacle of a corporate-dominated Congress tinkering with an outmoded paradigm of medicine, even while leaving Wall Street values in control of health-care delivery, medical research, and health insurance. It has solved very little. And it is far from sustainable.
Worse, the federal government—with President Obama’s blessing—is proceeding as if other models of health and medicine do not even exist, almost ignoring the natural medicine movement that is well-established in American life and solidly evidenced by advanced research. In addition, measures supporting prevention are almost entirely missing from the newly passed bill. While a few helpful changes will now be made in Medicare, other American health-care institutions that need radical reform—such as the FDA and the USDA—are left untouched. The health-care system is still headed for collapse.
In A Return to Healing we identified the most advanced version of the new medical model, and showed how it works in practice in Dr. Saputo’s own pioneering clinic: It’s called integral-health medicine. We explained how integral-health medicine is based on harmony with nature—not an expensive and often destructive war against nature. We saw how it provides an integrative, holistic, person-centered, and preventive approach to health and healing, and not just “sick care” focused on curing symptoms. We learned that advances in our understanding of such cutting-edge issues as clinical nutrition, “healing circles,” and the placebo effect spell the onset of a very promising future. We traced the hopeful story of Dr. Saputo’s own personal and professional evolution that led him to create the health medicine movement and institutionalize it in an integrative clinic that has the potential to revolutionize the delivery of care.
The authors still stand by these principles, but, as a year has passed since the first edition of our book, we now see the need to highlight or expand upon several additional aspects of the emergent new model of medicine:
• how bioenergetics, epigenetics, and spirituality are key to the new healing model
• the need to reform “Big Agra” to salvage our health—not just Big Pharma
• the increasing role of integral theory in the conception of the new model
• the wisdom of traditional medicine including Chinese and Ayurvedic
• the cost savings, effectiveness, and safety benefits of integrative methodology
Real transformation demands that the adoption of the new model of medicine must dovetail with vastly improved methods of the delivery of care. These are newly emerging points on that score:
1) lessons from health-care systems overseas (Taiwan, Switzerland, Canada, etc.)
2) how reform of delivery means a wholesale return to nonprofit models of care
3) why a new service culture must replace the profit motive across the board
3) why we must legally guarantee the right to health care, and to freedom of choice
4) why a novel form political activism will be required to improve delivery
Now, why advocate a new form of activism in a book about health care? This is because our failing health-care system is caught in the stalemate of a vicious circle: Today’s corporatized model must be radically reformed before it bankrupts the country; sustainability is far from our grasp. But, because this health-care system is already so steeped in the established political and economic order, it simply cannot reform itself until our corporate-dominated governing process has itself been reconstructed. In other words, health care activists have no choice but to be reformers of dysfunctional government itself—given that health care is one of its most cherished boondoggles. It’s even possible that health-care activism may itself become the vanguard of a much broader social change movement.
The upshot is that a potent new activism will or at least must be born out of the failure of recent health care reform, and that is it’s central motif will be health care sustainability.
The rudiments of it are already active, for example, in the case of the “Baucus 8,” eight activists in favor of single-payer insurance (including two physicians) who were arrested for a non-violent protest inside the Senator Baucus’s health-care reform hearing room in June 2009; behind them are 17,000 physicians who are members of Physicians for a National Health Program. The tea-bagger movement that came of evidence during the notorious August 2009 town hall meetings is further evidence of the public’s outrage against the health-care system, though it is currently deeply misguided; the issue of “health freedom”—a key demand of the populist right—is a wholesome idea arising from this movement of conservatives. On the left, the “cultural creative” segment of our citizenry has long been involved in a movement for alternative medicine, prevention, and healthy lifestyle, which has strong political roots. And finally, a powerful new movement for organic food, “slow food,” and “green” agriculture—as an alternative to the ravages of industrial agriculture and fast food—is in evidence everywhere.
We now believe that these movements could blend into a grand coalition. In fact, a new kind of health-care activism has the potential to revolutionize American life and politics through its advocacy of sustainable health-care reform at all levels. Further, the key to this great turning would be to elevate both politics and health onto a spiritual platform—at the heart of which is love, non-violence, healing, community solidarity, and enlightened ethics.
“Obamacare” is just a hint of the changes to come. In the end, genuine health care reform will require that we, the citizens—working from the grassroots all over America—must embark upon a joint campaign for a reformed government capable of supporting a new paradigm of health and medicine. We envision a profound coalition of citizens and activists whose efforts will one day end the corporatization of medicine and health care, bringing about:
1) integrative medicine (based on bioenergetics and the role of spirit)
2) single-payer insurance (an end to private profiteering on “disease care”)
3) health-care freedom of choice (backed by a constitutional amendment)
4) the institutionalization of prevention (supported by government policy)
5) a transformed “green” agriculture (a gradual end to industrial farming)
In the end, true reform must come at a different level of thinking than which caused the problem—through implementing a sustainable system by means of a new kind of spiritualized activism. And all this will not simply happen because of ideological preference or to cut runaway inflation, but because our very lives depend upon it.