Our Responsibility

I have been disappointed in many of my alternative health care blog reading lately. There are a lot of people in the complementary and alternative community that are against government subsidized health care. They keep pointing out that insurance reform (which this bill is) will not reform healthcare so we should be against this bill.

I find this disheartening on many fronts. One of the big ones is one that John Mackey of Whole Foods discusses. It is the concept that a good diet prevents sickness. I don’t disagree. A good diet can prevent a lot of sickness. Now my first question is, which good diet? Should I be vegetarian? Vegan? A high protein diet? A primal diet? Which one is a good diet? And if I eat one for awhile and then we decide that a different diet is better, am I still responsible for the illnesses caused by the “good” diet that is no longer good?

After we have hashed out what everyone should eat, what about those things that diet doesn’t prevent? A friend’s child had their appendix burst. My friend is an alternative care provider but she rushed the child to the hospital to have surgery. They don’t have insurance but are now heavily in debt to pay for this.

I ski. If a snowboarder is boarding out of control against my quiet little cruising and hits me and perhaps nearly cuts my leg off, it is unlikely that I will be telling ski patrol to take me to my office mate for acupuncture. I’ll be taken to the hospital. The ambulance will be a cost as will any stitches given, possible radiographs and the like. I’ll probably have antibiotics recommended. I’ll question those. I’ll be sure to be on the lowest safest dose with the fewest side effects. I’ll add in extra probiotics and have a particularly clean diet while I am on the course of the medication. Depending upon how I feel I’ll probably take pain medication. After that incident, I will go to my office mate for acupuncture for scar therapy. I’ll call my naturopath to see what else I can take to heal my gut. I’ll call my other naturopath for some energetic healing to clear away the frustration and anger the incident caused. I’ll see my chiropractor to get my back back in alignment as I’m probably out after all of this as well.

My point in this is that no matter how well we live and eat we can’t always control our health. I know people who eat great diets and get sick. Some of these people need surgeries. Some of them loose their homes because of this.

Whenever anyone says someone will be healthier by just eating better, they are missing the point. Sometimes sickness happens. Sometimes we need some help to get well again. Sometimes we even require allopathic medicine because complementary medicine doesn’t do everything.

Our healthcare reform bill is misnamed. It’s not healthcare we are reforming. We are reforming insurance. We need insurance reform. Most other countries have national healthcare in some form or another. The United States has the highest numbers of deaths from preventable diseases in the world. Preventable. People are dying because they don’t even know they are sick. By the time they, they are in the emergency room costing tax payers a fortune in surgeries that may have been averted if the person had gotten earlier intervention.

When people start learning how sick they are, then they can start talking about reforming healthcare. Until then, everyone in the United States has a responsibility to see to it that all people have access to some sort of health care. Anyone speaking against it is saying that their money, their comfort, their feeling of safety is more important than the life of another human being. How can anything be more important than a human being?

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Bonnie Koenig has been a licensed acupuncturist since 1999. She is passionate about helping people find real healing and real health. In the process she keeps asking about our attitudes towards sickness and health. Only by being clear on what sickness is, can we ever find health.

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