Rush talks about striving to be the best one can be, instead of relying on the government for support. In that case, let's look at chiropractic. Our leaders have characteristically demanded the best of ourselves. Our colleges today are the finest in the world. A world-renowned professor and author visited a chiropractic college and remarked that it had better facilities than any medical school he has ever seen1. When you consider that this was done in spite of the prejudice and ignorance against our profession, and despite the fact that we did it without government support while medical schools get tens of billions of dollars from state and federal governments each year, we are an outstanding example of what can be done with the right attitude. This is right in line with Limbaugh's philosophy. If he could be made to see this fact, he couldn't help but be proud of chiropractic.
We've heard the politicians tell us how great we are privately, but they simply don't say the same things when they are on CNN or C-Span. Why? Because they are more concerned with how it impacts them personally or politically rather than what they feel in their hearts to be true. Anyone who listens to Limbaugh knows that he speaks from the heart. By the time he was 40, he was fired from seven jobs because he would not compromise the principles of what he felt was correct. He cannot and will not allow himself to be intimidated by what may be the popular view at the time. This can't be said for most people; many politicians, for example, will wet their fingers and put them in the air to see which way the wind of the voters is blowing.
Another example is the National Education Association (NEA), a political trade union for teachers. Years ago, the NEA got in bed with the AMA and used its influence to pollute the minds of America's youth against chiropractic. The NEA is viewed by Rush as an organization that is more interested in dummying down the youth of America. I couldn't agree more and have so stated on talk shows.
One of the best endorsements that the chiropractic profession has ever received is from the Cato Institute. Their reports have quoted: the AHCPR study on acute low back pain in adults; the Western Medical Journal study showing the 3-to-1 chiropractic patient satisfaction ratio over medical patients; how international research supports chiropractic care by referring to the British Medical Journal; the 1991 Gallup poll which showed that 90 percent of patients felt chiropractic was effective; and referred to our antitrust lawsuit against the AMA and its outcome.
In part, the Cato Institute concluded, "It should be noted, however, that medical schools rely heavily on federal subsidies, while training for non-physician providers is predominantly funded with private money ... At a time when government is looking for ways to reduce health spending, it should examine closely the supply side of health care reform. Some experts have raised concerns about an oversupply of highly-trained specialists who rely heavily on government funding for training, while at the same time, licensure laws and federal reimbursement regulations restrict non-physician providers from entering the health care marketplace ... A serious reform of the US health care system must address the medical monopoly. Barriers to entry into the health care marketplace are partially responsible for high health costs and lack of access to primary and preventive health care.2" Limbaugh has a very high respect for the Cato Institute, and its evaluation of the health care crisis is right on target.
We then have the issue of lies and misinformation about our profession, which was politically motivated and anti-competitive. Rush is no stranger to being a victim of misinformation. He is forever being misquoted and misrepresented by people with their own vested interests. I believe he will be able to relate to our dilemma. The bottom line here is to have him read my new book, and perhaps this column in Dynamic Chiropractic, and get him to see what a powerful message we have regarding honest health care. This is not an issue of chiropractic or medicine, but one of honesty and objectivity based on solid facts. We have the facts on our side.
I'm convinced that once Rush Limbaugh sees the truth, he will speak from his heart. Once he gets the facts, how can he think any other way but logically? You know he will. Whatever your political views may be are not important in the context of this issue. Even Rush's harshest critics will agree that he never compromises what he believes to be true, and that is the reason for his success. He is 100 percent honest.
Make a photocopy of this column and send it to Rush. He gets thousands of letters a day, so with his massive amount of mail, it is understandable that sending a letter to him may not be read. It's physically difficult. If enough of us send him this column, however, maybe some will get through and end up on his desk. I sent Rush a copy of my new book, Medicine, Monopolies and Malice; perhaps some of you may wish to do the same. It may help if books are coming to him from all corners of our country.
Meanwhile, as I get on talk shows, I will refer to Rush in my conversations as the occasions arise. Perhaps he may get some feedback from one of my talk shows. Once Rush is made aware of the facts supporting chiropractic, with his forthright and uncompromising honesty, I believe he will become one of the greatest boosters for utilizing honest health care based on proven merit, which is how it should be.
It bears repeating that the issue is not chiropractic or medicine, but honesty in the utilization of health care and in preserving the principle of competition. I can't see Rush taking any other position. We also need to remember that it was the AMA which tried to destroy competition. Once we remove competition, whether it is done by the government or by vested interests, we have a natural sequence of events that takes place. We see people get lazy and arrogant, while the quality of their service or product goes down as the prices go up. This is something that Rush has spoken about many times and is in keeping with the chiropractic situation.
Not only has chiropractic gotten solid studies showing it is more cost-effective than medicine, it has therapeutic superiority, top schools, and the scientific studies to support its clinical applications. We did it with a commitment to excellence and without the kind of support given other groups. This is the kind of achievement that should make any conservative point to chiropractic with pride as a living example of what can be done in the marketplace.
Here are some amazing statistics about Rush Limbaugh. He is currently being heard daily on 660 radio and television stations, and is listened to by over 20 million people a week in America and overseas. He enthusiastically mentioned how much he likes Snapple. The company quickly grew from a small beverage company in the northeast to being sold in all 50 states. If he ever realizes what a magnificent profession we have in chiropractic, how it is being maligned by vested interests, and how this undermines rational health care in this country, I'm sure he will speak out for the truth. When that day comes, be prepared to see some changes. Change is desperately needed, and Mr. Limbaugh can become a major player in the much needed health care reform in America.
Meanwhile, contact your local radio stations and tell them you can get the author of Medicine, Monopolies and Malice to appear on their talk show by phone. You'll get some great exposure in your town, and we will get this vital message out.
- Remarks made by Dr. John McMillan Mennell, M.D., upon visiting the National College of Chiropractic in Lombard, Illinois.
- Blevins S. Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers or Limiting Competition? Policy Analysis, Cato Institute, Washington D.C., Dec. 15, 1995.
Chester Wilk, DC
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