In my role as an active member of a vibrant community of natural health care practitioners, I was very excited to learn that the Obama-Biden team, under the leadership of the incoming Secretary of Health, Tom Daschle, requested input from community groups as we begin the work of re-defining health care policy in America. I signed up to be a moderator of one of these country-wide groups, and set a date and time for the meeting.
I am involved with a group of Health Care Professionals, who act as community activists and educators. We put on Health Expos, Radio and TV productions for professionals and consumers who are interested in learning cost effective and scientifically validated health care modalities. Scientific studies are increasingly verifying the concept that natural medicine with a strong base of healthy eating and consistent exercise leads to a decrease in health care expense as well as human suffering.
We are interested in increased access to cost effective and scientifically validated health care modalities, through insurance re-imbursement and the broadening of availability of Flexible Spending Accounts/Health Savings Accounts, that allow consumers to choose access to health care with pre-tax dollars. We have an interest in the passage of House Concurrent Resolution 406, which supports education and access to healthy eating practices and exercise as a basis of any health care policy.
When I signed up as a group moderator, I received instructions on how to run the meeting. It was wonderful to get an outline of procedures and questions that would be universally used by all the groups meeting around the country.
When I received my Moderators Instruction Packet, I was overwhelmed with a sense of oy when I read the instructions. In my many years working on government projects, I have never before been explicitly instructed to RESPECT, EMPOWER and INCLUDE, as a mandate for my role as an organizer!
Here is an except directly from the Health Care Community Discussion: Host and Moderator Guide: http://change.gov/moderatorguide.
How to Be a Successful Moderator: The key to being a successful moderator is to remember and employ these key principles: Respect, Empower, and Include.
Respect: Every attendee should be treated with respect; no one should feel that their views were ignored or dismissed without being heard. Vigorous debate is encouraged, and attendees can disagree without being disagreeable.
Empower: Whenever possible, entrust attendees with responsibility over the meeting's procedure and its substantive contribution. These meetings are not occasions for "experts" to listen to "everyday people" and then decide what is best. They are an opportunity for attendees to come together to diagnose the health care problems facing their community and propose solutions.
Include : Strive to incorporate everyone's concerns and opinions in the discussion and submission. Each attendee's views matter - whatever their background, beliefs, or previous political involvement. Even when there is disagreement, strive to find common ground.
I could hardly believe that these words were coming from a government sponsored document!
Each participant received a Participants Guide to help focus the discussion on how our country can best format policy that would most effectively deliver affordable, high quality health care to all Americans.
Our group included individuals with diverse life experiences and ideas. As moderator, I consolidated the proposals of the group. Here are some highlights:
The biggest issue is the need to include integrative health care because it addresses the cause of illness and not merely treating symptoms- Health care should be Health Focused instead of Dis-ease focused.
Health Freedom- Any universal health care must accept licensed integrative practitioners, and promote true prevention- catching illness at the root cause. NO MANDATORY VACCINATIONS.
Instead of employer based coverage, we proposed personal coverage that can be paid for with pre-tax dollars. This frees people to change jobs and take their health insurance with them for life.
REWARD individuals for staying healthy- such as maintaining a healthy weight, blood pressure, fat intake level, etc. Many current health insurance programs do this now, by having lower rates for individuals at a lower risk for developing illness. However, low cost catastrophic policies should be available to all, not dependent on pre-existing conditions.
In closing, I would like to suggest that you take action to be sure your interests in health care reform are heard! Visit http://change.gov to input YOUR IDEAS. I would also like to include more information about House Resolution 406. This resolutioncalls for Congress to ensure that any reengineering of the U.S. health care system: (1) incorporates sustainable wellness programs that address the underlying causal factors of chronic disease; (2) ensures public access to strategies for improving individual health through lifestyle change; (3) provides patient-centered care that addresses personal health needs and that encourages patients to improve wellness through lifestyle changes and scientifically-based therapies that facilitate the body's inherent ability to maintain and restore optimal health; and (4) utilizes defined standards to determine when wellness and health promotion activities will be useful based on the patient's diet, exercise habits, and individual and family health histories.
Alert your congressperson of your support of this legislation at link below:
Stay Healthy!Ellen Kamhi PhD RN, The Natural Nurse®, can be heard on radio daily. She is the author of several books, including THE NATURAL MEDICINE CHEST. Dr. Kamhi has been involved in natural health care for over 4 decades. She answers consumer questions at www.naturesanswer.com, and has a private practice on Long Island. www.naturalnurse.com, 800-829-0918.
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