When the ACA sent all its members a report on the Clinton health care plan, we were told: "We are entering a high stakes national debate. Congress will be lobbied by all sides -- including our enemies.This is a crucial period. Only through sustained lobbying efforts and grassroots contacts with Congress will we succeed."1 Who are our enemies?
We should never forget that the Assoc. of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), the American Council for Health Care Reform, and the National Legal and Policy Center, collectively sued Hillary Clinton and the White House for what they perceived as nefarious activity by the First Family's health care task force.2 When the AAPS approached the AMA to join their forces, the AMA declined. When asked why they declined, the AMA chose not to answer the question.3 Do the allopaths have an enemy of whom they were unaware?
It should be well-known that the meetings of the 511-member task force were conducted in secret, and that virtually no members represented the private care sector.2-4 Who are our enemies?
If you were to hire a staff of workers for you office, would you have regular meetings to make sure your office runs smoothly? Most doctors would say yes. As the owner of the business, you would naturally allocate jobs and determine salaries. You would also determine who gets hired and who gets fired. Employees expect such a program of office management, and also expect that they will be evaluated and encouraged to work harder if their performance is below par. Our employees certainly do not expect that they will evaluate themselves, do they? What would you do if your employees started to have office meetings and did not permit you to attend? What would you do if your employees started to change office procedures and didn't tell you? What would you do if your employees raised their own salaries, fired you, and hired a new doctor to take care of your patients? Would you permit this to happen? You are probably thinking that this is a preposterous idea, and something you would never let happen. Think again.
Who are the owners of this country? Who pays for the activities that take place in this country? Isn't our country really the office of the people of the United States? Aren't government employees our employees? In reality, the president and his staff are our elected "office manager" and staff. If Clinton's health reform program had gone through (i.e., the Health Security Act), our "office manager" would have, according to page 823 of the Act, appointed a National Quality Management Council to judge their performance of doctors and other providers.2 In other words, our chief employee would have chosen a 15-member staff to judge our performance and we would have had no say in the matter. And who would have checked the effectiveness of the National Quality Management Council and the impact of the act itself? The answer is easy. They would have evaluated themselves, according to page 831 of the Act.2 Our employees would have evaluated themselves and reported to another employee, and then tell us what to do. Our employees also planned to determine our salaries.5 Who are our enemies and why are they our enemies?
Allopathic practitioners are the bad guys, right? They are cold mechanistic practitioners who don't care about their patients, right? Their goal is to cause as many iatrogenic diseases as possible, right? Arthur J. Paredes, MD, told us that under the Clinton plan, medicine becomes impersonal and the quality of care suffers. He stated: "I like to know the people I'm treating. I like to be close to them. Let's just say I consider a lot of them my friends."6 Paredes indicates that being on a first-name basis with patients falls under the art rather than the science of practicing medicine: "A lot of guys no longer have the genuine love of the practice of medicine, and a lot of them never had the art of medicine,"6 explains Paredes. Who are our enemies?
Norman Cousins had this to say at a commencement address at George Washington University Medical Center.
"There are qualities beyond pure medical competence that patients need and look for in their physicians. They want reassurance. They want to be look after and not just looked over. They want to be listened to. They want to feel that it makes a difference to the physician, a very big difference, whether they live or die. They want to feel that they are in the physician's thoughts. In short, patients are a vast collection of emotional needs. Yes, psychological counselors are very helpful in this connection, and so are the family and clergy, by the patient turns most of all and first of all to the physician. It is the physician's station that has most to offer in terms of those emotional needs. It is the person and the presence of the physician just as much as and frequently more than what the physician does that create an environment for healing. The physician represents restoration. The physician holds the lifeline. The physician's words and not just his prescriptions are attached to that lifeline. I pray that when he goes into a patient's room, the physician will recognize that the main distance is not from the door to the bed, but form the patients' eyes to his own, and that the shortest distance between those two points is a horizontal straight line, the kind of straight line that works best when the physician bends low to the patient's loneliness, fear, and pain, and the overwhelming sense of mortality that comes flooding up out of the unknown, and when the physician's hand on the patient's shoulder or arm is a shelter against darkness. I pray that even as he attaches the highest value to his science, the physician will never forget that it works best when combined with his art, and indeed that art is what is most enduring in the profession. For ultimately, it is the physician's respect for the human soul that determines the worth of his science."7At the time of Cousins' comments, he was a member of UCLA's department of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences. Regarding research findings at UCLA, Cousins tells us: "The brain is the most prolific gland in the human body, and its secretions play a powerful part in health or illness. Some (secretions) are activated by the patient's own attitudes and emotions; others may be activated by the patient's self-confidence and confidence in the physician, or by a robust will to live."7 Who are our enemies?
Who are our enemies, and why are they our enemies? Is it possible that Machiavelli is still alive? I don't let any of these ideas discussed in this article bother me. Nothing bad is really happening. I am still in complete control and the master of my own density. I creatively visualize that everything is fine, and everything is always fine. Furthermore, someday Joe Keating may no longer work for a chiropractic college and then "chiropractic will work" better than it did before. The solutions to my problems, which really don't exist, are as follows: I don't read the newspaper; I don't read journals; I deep complaining that it's the other chiro's fault; I always blame, depending on my mood, the ACA or ICA for everything; I maintain that allopaths are the uncaring and unknowing bad guys; I religiously watch "Red Shoe Diaries" and "Tales from the Crypt"; I keep eating cupcakes and drink as much beer as possible; and I make sure I get to the golf course at least seven times each week. Obviously, I am a very principled chiropractor. I urge my patients to take the same approach to their lives. What do you do to keep yourself, and your patients, balanced and tuned in?
What to do about Health-Care Legislation without Representation
While our attention is very often directed toward tangents rather than key issues, the tendency to focus on irrelevant tangents is a natural human condition and can be understood when one has a basic understanding of the limbic system (Part 2 in this two-part series will discuss the nature of the limbic system).
What are some things that we can do to secure our constitutional rights, regarding freedom of choice, in this era of legislation without representation? The steps we need to take are really quite straightforward, but their enactment is possible only when the nature of the problem is better understood. The following paragraph illustrates how we tend to internalize sensory/environmental input.
Because we live in a time during which sensory overload is unavoidable, it is often difficult to discern between the real and the unreal. When I turned on my television last night, I watched part of four different movies and then some news on CNN and three regular news stations. On each of the eight channels, I watched violence and injustice, and then went to bed. Do this tonight before you go to bed, and when you are brushing your teeth, or lying in bed, ask yourself if you were bothered by anything that you saw on television. Then ask yourself, "Which of the pieces I just saw took place in real life?" Ultimately you will realize that you were unaffected by what you watched and couldn't tell that the movie was fiction and the news was [potentially] reality. We view movies as entertainment and we do not take them seriously. And whether we want to admit it or not, we also view the news as entertainment and do not take it seriously. Ultimately our nervous system cannot discern which is real, a movie or the news. Both entertainment and the news are categorized by our brains as projections on a screen, and nothing more. It takes self-control of the likes I have yet to see, to force oneself to actively discern between the real and unreal, based on what one views on television.
Take the concept that was illustrated in the previous paragraph and apply it to the issue of disease-care reform. Compare that which you read and see on television concerning what "might" happen regarding disease-care reform, and compare it to what goes on in your office. Our brain interprets television as unreal and the office as real. Because business is going on as usual, we conclude that nothing bad or worse is going to happen, so our brain discards a real warning from the television, or other sources, as unreal.
Consider what you have seen on television recently. We would all agree that Bill Clinton is president, and that NAFTA and the Brady Bill have both passed. How has any of this actually changed your life? It has not, therefore it is not real and we do not take it seriously. How will Clinton, NAFTA and the Brady Bill affect your future? We don't think about it because the future is not real until the future becomes the present. However, it should be understood that NAFTA has literally nothing to do with free trade. Free trade and jobs were personal issues about which we took sides and argued, and continue to argue. Machiavelli is still at work 467 years after his death. Actually NAFTA has everything to do with our national sovereignty. NAFTA transfers our sovereignty to a special board appointed by the respective rulers of the United States, Canada and Mexico. In short, "NAFTA is about a new world order; it is about freezing in the gains of big government; it is about a loss of American sovereignty; it is about trading away our birthright of liberty for a mess of pottage."8 However this problem is also not real because we are not yet personally affected.
Regarding the disease-care reform issue, Dr. Glen Griffin, editor of Postgraduate Medicine, states: "Instead of staying focused on health, the president's health legislation would turn our health care system into a police state with penalties ranging from fines to life imprisonment. But on top of all the freedom lost because of regulations, controls on medical practice, and fee schedules, even more freedom is taken away by making it illegal to boycott about unfair fees."9 This is unconstitutional, period. Article I of the Bill of Rights states:
"Congress shall make not law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."Dr. Griffin, who read every page of the Clinton health plan, warned us: "If you still don't really believe the 1,342-page health plan will take away the liberty of Americans, just get a copy and read it."9 Despite the fact that we are not yet directly affected by what was described in this paragraph, we must perceive it as being real if we want to have the futures we desire for ourselves and our children. The following paragraphs discuss some things we can do.
Most Americans have forgotten that we are the owners of this country and as such, we are the employers of government officials. Government officials are our servants, we are not theirs. This is certainly not something that the government reminds us of. Thus, we need to remind the government of this fact, and we need to remind our fellow Americans of their rights and role as employer of government officials. Instead of trying to secure a position in an unconstitutional health care plan, or believing the illusion that we will survive with a cash practice as did many of chiropractic's pioneers, why don't we champion the constitutional rights of the American people, and urge them to stand up for these rights. If we can retain our great Constitution, which was written for the purpose of protecting the people of America, then "we the people" will retain the right to choose the kind of health care we want, and not that which certain employees are illegally dictating to us. If we can retain our freedom, then people will choose chiropractic, especially if the benefits of chiropractic are logically explained.
So, what exactly should we do? Good question. My interest is neurology, exercise physiology and nutritional biochemistry, and not reenactments of the Boston Tea Party. Nonetheless, we all must get involved with the disease-care reform issue if we desire to pursue our interests in the future. This last sentence is very important to appreciate as reality rather than fantasy. If you want to have the ability to pursue your interests in the future, then you, I, we, our family, our patients, our friends, and everyone we meet, must work together now to ensure such a possibility down the road.
We are fortunate that an infrastructure already exists for us to use. Each state chiropractic association has many local district associations, and in this fashion, local doctors are already organized. To start, local associations must get all local doctors to attend all meetings. Each doctor should bring his staff and all respective spouses for the purpose of education and support. This may seem like an imposition, but think of the potential alternative of a policed health care state and possibly an actual policed state. Better to be safe than sorry.
The purpose of the local meetings are to educate all office personel to understand the gravity of the situation, so the staff and doctor can educate patients and their families. At least four times per year, the local association auxiliary can plan a large town meeting to bring together all offices, patients and guests. Allopaths, osteopaths, dentists and other allied health professionals should be invited to get involved.
Funding can come through a voluntary inexpensive membership program. The purpose of all the meetings is to keep abreast of legislation and ingrain our constitutional rights into all of our minds to specifically secure our right of freedom of choice. The purpose of these meetings is not to promote chiropractic. We must realize that freedom of choice is a promotion for chiropractic. Furthermore, the fact that chiropractors are promoting the activities will itself provide massive promotion.
It is true that a significant amount of effort is required to organize this effort. It will be much easier than you expect if we stay focused on why we are doing it: to secure the United States Constitution so that our children and grandchildren have futures. If this is our focus, then we will gladly weather the battle, come what may. If we instead focus on our own boring petty grievances and concerns, which exist largely in our minds and no where else, then our future will be lost. I hope we can do it.
- Analysis: the Clinton Health reform plan. ACA, Arlington, VA, p. 13, 1993.
- Griffin G. Say no to 1,432 pages of more government control. Postgrad Med, 94(8):17-23, 1993.
- Personal communication with a curious allopath, 1993.
- Health care facts vs. fiction (editorial). Investor's Business Daily, p. 2, 11-8-93.
- The reform plan maze (editorial). Postgrad Med, 94(7):32-36, 1993.
- The $16 office visit: a preview of change? (interview with Arthur Paredes, MD). Postgrad Med 94(4):63-66, 1993.
- Cousins N. Physician as communicator. JAMA 248(5):587-89, 1982.
- Buchanan on NAFTA, the American cause, (703) 827-9200.
- Griffin G. Say no to 1,342 pages of more government control," Postgrad Med, 4(8):17-23, 1993.
David R. Seaman, DC, MS, DABCN
Hendersonville, North Carolina
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