health care reform


Your local actions create the future;

Locally, though receiving little press, Maryland midwives are fighting for their right to exist. Over the last few years there has been a nation-wide effort by the American College of Obstetrics & Gynecology (ACOG) to take away the rights of CPM’s to attend births resulting in more than a few local seasoned midwives to have charges brought against them for practicing medicine without a license. These wise women are being terrorized for practicing their livelihood, and are in fact threatened with loosing their ability to practice and provide this sacred work to mother’s to be.

Regardless of whether or not you would consider the services of a midwife to support you in your own life, increasing numbers of women, as they become educated about the effects of medicalized childbirth on their own health and that of their newborn, are seeking out the support of these women. The World Health Organization supports midwifery as the most sensible choice to insure best outcomes for mother’s and babies. In fact, 26 states already license CPM’s to attend home births. Our state government, spurred on by ACOG, is seeking to limit the choices women have to give birth.

As a woman who supports women in rebuilding their health and along with it, their sense of being empowered persons, I urge you to sign the petition on the site; Maryland Families for Safe Birth Petition. And if so inspired, please write your legislators as well, at  Maryland Families for Safe Birth. This is an opportunity to shape the future by supporting empowered births, empowered women, and consequently their families. YOU!

With love, Angela

The following is something that is not well edited, nor complete in it’s aim. I just had to get this out, as my heart and brain were screaming. I will begin with the caveat that I do appreciate western medicine in times of crises, so I am not bashing allopathic medicine….but critiquing inappropriate and corrupt application. Comments are welcome.

My mind these days keeps wandering back to the book “Woman as Healer”, by Jeanne Achterberg. As well-researched, well-funded interests spin the mass-media they own to be champions of the very few, while less well financially resourced communities are forced to their knees, circumspect reflection raises questions. The fundamental question is what is driving this distortion of what is Real? Fear of being annihilated, of course. Annihilation of wealth and lifestyle, and of their very existence. Ironically, this very fear that is motivating the most unscrupulous, heartless behavior on massive scale, is the unhealed wound that will ultimately topple them. History has shown again and again and again, that actions by a privileged class motivated by fear of the populations their wealth is generated from ultimately destroys the privileged class. It is tragic, to say the least, that the vast amounts of soul healing resources and good will available to heal this fear, is, itself demonized.

This fear of lack, ironically, seeks to ensure a lavish lifestyle for the very few, devoid of a sense of collective responsibility, at ultimate cost to countless others and the very earth that supports humanities, and indeed, many other creatures’ ability to exist. Well-researched and well-funded interests have created what is known in our times as Spin Doctors. Spin Doctors are paid to pit one segment of society against the other to benefit the interests of their Multinational Corporate Financiers.  These individuals and corporate “personhoods“, otherwise, and in other circles, known as hoodlums , without conscience, construct scenarios, manipulate language to create mistrust, fear of other, and foster strife for profit.

I’ve just returned from a meeting in Baltimore of Maryland for Midwives. Now, some of you might think at this point: oh, this doesn’t concern me. Think again. Suppose you had an emergency at home and an EMT were called. They came, tended to you, and advised you that in their estimation, you should allow them to take you to the hospital. You feel the situation has been resolved, and refuse to go. If at this point they were to cart you off to the hospital anyway, against your wishes, that would be kidnapping.

Now, suppose you are a woman about to give birth. You chose to give birth at home.  All the medical/insurance personnel insist you give birth at hospital or you won’t be covered by your insurance, or they will refuse to treat you, against your free will.  After all, women since the beginning of time, have always given birth at home, or in the field, or wherever. What’s the difference?

Some of you may know of the home birth midwife who was charged with and convicted of a felony earlier this year? She was put in jail for a week, without being tried. She was brought into the courtroom in an orange jumpsuit and shackles on her wrists and ankles. Doctors have had many babies and mothers die. Does this ever happen to them? The numbers show that hospital mortality rates for infants and mothers are way above those for home birth midwives.

Last week I heard through a doula client of mine that another beloved veteran, home birth midwife has had her license revoked. Today I have heard of a third. All in practice for many, many years. All the student home birth midwives I know are terrified to practice now, as things stand. Make no  mistake, there is a “witch hunt” going on, designed to take this option off the table for families who want it. It is the single most empowering right of passage a woman goes through. Back to my first sentence, where I mention the book “Woman as Healer”. History shows that in desperate economic times women are persecuted, excluded and prosecuted for sharing what they know, for supporting those who value their knowledge and wisdom. We are in those times again. It is time to look at your choices people. Who and what are you supporting by where you choose to spend your dollars? Are you aware that you pay for “health insurance”. It comes out of your pay. Where does it go? Does it support the people with whom you trust your health, your child’s health?

Here is a video by MoveOn.org and R.E.M.

http://pol.moveon.org/healthcare_cantwait/?id=17196-7739238-zb8OP1x&t=2

by Dr. Andrew Weil

I appeared on Larry King Live Wednesday night to discuss health care reform with a panel of respected, high-profile physicians. I sounded the themes I wrote about in The Wrong Diagnosis: that Americans must change the content of health care, not just access to it, or we’ll remain among the unhealthiest people in the developed world, and the costs will sink us.

Bill Frist, a physician and former Senate Republican majority leader from Tennessee, responded with what has become the conservative line: that “we do have the best health care” and what Americans principally need is “insurance reform” rather than improved health care practices. Later in the program were video clips of what host Wolf Blitzer termed “conservatives” disrupting town hall meetings on health care reform. Clearly, the prospect of change in health care is highly emotional and disturbs many people.

But here’s my question: Since when is it conservative to embrace new, overpriced, corrupt systems, like the health-destroying and ruinously expensive protocols of much of modern medicine? “Conservative” has several meanings, but two central ones are “favoring traditional views and values,” and “avoiding excess.”

I hold that nothing could be more wild, unconstrained, and downright liberal than the path medicine has taken in just the last 20 years — an unprecedented bacchanalia of excess and contempt for traditional American values.

Pharmaceuticals, once just one of many therapeutic modalities, are now synonymous with medical care; more than half of all insured Americans are taking prescription medicines for chronic health problems. Medical journals, formerly bastions of objectivity, are today often ghostwritten shills for moneyed interests. And physicians, once free to make healing their only goal, must now obey the dictates of lawyers and stockholders by ordering endless tests and dangerous, dubious surgeries for even minor conditions.

While billions of dollars are shunted into very few pockets via such abuses, insurance premiums skyrocket, leaving 47 million Americans with no coverage. The result of medicine’s libertine spree? The relief agency Remote Area Medical, established to bring health care to rural parts of third-world nations, now sends 60 percent of its missions to U.S. cities such as Los Angeles, California and Knoxville, Tennessee.

By contrast, integrative medicine (IM), the system we teach at the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona in Tucson (and that is taught at more than 40 other medical schools nationwide including Harvard, Yale, Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic) is profoundly conservative in at least three ways:

1. It is philosophically conservative in that it aims to restore core values of medicine that were strong in the past, such as a reverence for the healing power of nature and the importance of the therapist-patient relationship.

2. It is medically conservative in stressing prevention and advocating lesser rather than greater intervention — the least invasive, least harmful, least expensive treatments that the circumstances of illness demand. IM practitioners always observe the Hippocratic precept of “First, do no harm,” relying in simpler interventions whenever possible and turning to more drastic ones only when the former fail to produce desired outcomes.

3. It is fiscally conservative in its willingness to look beyond the blinders of high-tech medicine to identify inexpensive therapies that may be useful and in its insistence that they be held to the same standard for clinical- and cost-effectiveness in well-designed outcomes trials.

I urge Senator Frist and all Americans to join me and thousands of physicians and patients in demanding a return to sensible, sustainable, conservative values in medicine. The liberals have had their day.

Andrew Weil, MD, is the founder and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and the editorial director of www.DrWeil.com. Follow Dr. Weil on Twitter. Become a fan on Facebook.

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