By Emma Holister, France
A recent interview with Michael Moore, 'Sicko' spawns Moore fever in Cannes, by Jill Lawless, concludes, after lavishly praising the Cuban, British and French healthcare systems:
"Are there flaws in those systems? Absolutely. But those are flaws for the people in those countries to correct, not me." And with that, he disappeared into another cheering crowd.
Speaking as an ex-patient who has lived many years in France, I'd like to know how 'we' are supposed to correct the fact that our system of government-controlled universal healthcare has effectively outlawed naturopathy by making it illegal for anyone other than a vaccination-chemo-ARV-pushing allopathic doctor to practise 'natural therapies'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to correct the fact that you can go to jail for not 'immunising' your children with poisonous vaccines, and how we are supposed to recover the right to self treat with herbal remedies from our back gardens when it has been made an offence under the laws forbidding the 'illegal practice of medicine'. I'd like to know how we are supposed to stop the medical authorities from harassing the true naturopathic practitioners, such as yoga instructors, closing down their workshops, accusing them of being 'gurus of dangerous sects'.
Moore's film is clearly praise for the drug industry masquerading as criticism. It is the total annihilation of true alternative medicine that he is supporting with his campaign to promote universal healthcare. The real face of universal healthcare in France is far less about helping poor people gain access to 'life-saving medical treatment', and far more about forcing mandatory toxic treatments upon all people and preventing them from using natural means and true disease prevention to look after their own health.
Wagging an admonishing finger at right-wing corporatism and applauding government-controlled (aka 'socialised') healthcare systems certainly hits a popular note these days; we're all tired of fascism and injustice. However by playing into the totally mainstream political paradigm of Left versus Right, Democrat versus Republican politics, Moore is doing nothing revolutionary or anti-establishment, certainly nothing even remotely anti-medical industry.
Oh, that ever-burning question 'Who is going to take care of the poor?'. Well, the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We know that right-wing governments certainly aren't going to, but does this automatically mean that left-wing governments or systems of 'socialised' healthcare do? Are human rights and the individual's health truly more protected and respected by the Government in a left-wing-style or, further still, in a Communist health regime?
Ultimately the question is 'Will the beast of corporate fascism be beaten by universal healthcare?' The British National Health Service is proof of the contrary, as is the 'saintly' French healthcare set-up, both systems slavishly devoted to the pharmaceutical-medical-industrial complex. Whether in France or in the UK, a visit to the doctor is most likely to mean sitting long hours in a waiting room. On arrival at his desk, the patient is greeted with a rushed interview, discouraged from expressing an opinion, is told peremptorily what they need, which is more often than not a prescription for pharmaceuticals, pharmaceuticals that produce vicious side effects that have the patient running back to the doctor for help, when once again more pharmaceuticals will be prescribed, with the added bonus, if the doctor is so inclined, of being put on a waiting list for surgery. So the medical industry under universal healthcare is well fed; in fact, like Moore, it is veritably obese.
One could argue that the French and British healthcare systems, although both of them have embraced universal healthcare over the last few decades, are so different as to be diametrically opposed, given the still relatively liberal approach in the UK where true alternative medicine has not yet been banished and rendered illegal, as opposed to the draconian regime in France. It is still possible in England to run away from the government-run healthcare system and take refuge in alternative therapies, which is indeed what a vast sector of the population does, finding it preferable to pay for natural healthcare out of their own pockets rather than be subjected to the medical-industry robots in the UK government's medical programme.
These differences between the universal healthcare in France and the UK only create confusion when one tries to initiate discussions between Europeans and Americans. While certain Americans' hair stands on end at the spectre of 'socialised medicine' in the UK, quail as they do at the sight of a country gone to the 'Commie Dawwgs', many English people scratch their heads and express confusion over the fact that if the UK were a 'Commie country', how is it that we've always lived in an overtly capitalist society with many years of right-wing corporate-hungry governments, not to mention left-wing corporate-hungry governments? Furthermore, the average English or French person may wonder what on earth is so superior about the American healthcare system for them to be getting into such a state about ours. So one can understand how the many Americans who express a horror of 'socialised medicine', a term coined by the American Medical Association, formerly opposed, now pro, do not succeed in convincing the French and English that our system is inherently evil. It's a case of the pot calling the kettle black.
However, to assume therefore that socialised medicine or universal healthcare must be 'good' is a trap many fall into. In the UK it is difficult to imagine that we may lose our right to flee from the government-run pharmaceutical-medical-industry-oriented system into the reassuring arms of our alternative medicine practitioners who get by well enough despite being outside the mainstream medical structure. We cannot imagine losing that right. We hope, expect, that some future government will welcome alternative medicine into its programme.
And there lies the trap that awaits us. The trap is the fact that we trust that some government will genuinely care about the individual's health above big industry concerns. Hands up who really trusts politicians to put individual health rights above the dictates of big industry. The trap that has been laid out before us is across the Channel. It is France's healthcare regime where alternative medicine has apparently been integrated into the mainstream medical paradigm with acupuncture and homeopathy being offered by some mainstream doctors. Do not be fooled. What exists in France is the prostitution of the complementary and integrative medicine camp to the allopathic mainstream medical industry and the result is the prohibition of true alternative medicine.
The French social security system, like the UK's NHS, has long been poisoning and mutilating the population 'for free' (or rather not so free as it comes heavily from our taxes). In the UK, if you're lucky, the prospect of a huge waiting list for mainstream treatment may force you to revert to natural self treatment and alternative therapies. However, in France that is illegal.
France is the pioneer in this hybridisation of 'naturopathy', complementary/integrative medicine and mainstream medical practice. And it has long been the case that alternative medicine is dead in France, one of the most over-medicated countries in the world. It is a country of medical victims.
In this complementary/allopathic marriage and Utopia of universal healthcare, 'disease prevention' is sucked up and reinvented by the dominant medical industry, supported lovingly by its complementary/integrative disciple. Prevention is no longer really about improving diet and lifestyle but more about mandatory vaccinations, blood tests, electronic patient-tracking systems and x-ray cancer screenings to feed the chemo industry.
Furthermore, as the CAM/allopathic system pushes ever more towards 'evidence-based' and industry-friendly 'complementary' medicine, the tiny amount of alternative medicine practices that have been integrated into the system do not remain reimbursed/'free' for long, as in the case of the recent severing of homeopathy by the French system. So integration into the system means nothing more than tighter restrictions on alternative medicine followed by cuts that force you to pay anyway for what little is left on offer.
To get back to the question of the 'poor poor', how can anyone be helped by a healthcare system that inflicts abusive medical practices upon them against their will? How can 'the poor', or anyone, be happy when basic human rights are flushed down the toilet as government-controlled mandatory medication of the population becomes the norm?
One of the only journalists who is clearly and consistently exposing the betrayal of true grassroots alternative medicine by the influential armies of complementary/integrative medicine marching in step with the mainstream allopathic Medical Industry is Peter Chowka.
The following is a selection of his articles from his website http://chowka.com
Peter Barry Chowka is an investigative journalist and medical-political analyst who specializes in reporting on alternative and innovative therapies and the politics of health care. Since the 1970s, he has broken a number of important stories, including the federal government's cover-up of its own promising research on diet and cancer, the Hoxsey herbal cancer therapy, and the suppression of Dr. Linus Pauling's research on vitamin C and health. In April 1994 Peter did the last interview with Dr. Pauling before the two-time Nobel prize winner died at age 93 four months later.
Peter's work has been published widely, both in print and, over the past decade, on the Internet. He has appeared in major documentary films, has written for television, and has been a guest on several hundred radio and TV talk shows, most recently the nationally syndicated Coast to Coast AM on April 24, 2007. Between 1992-'94, Peter was an advisor to the National Institutes of Health's Office of Alternative Medicine.
Recently, Peter has been investigating the push for "universal health care" which he sees as the most serious threat to Americans' freedom, autonomy, and choice in medicine since the country was founded.
His Web site is http://chowka.com
Universal Health Care Marches On And Other Outrages
(June 1, 2007) It continues to be popular in many CAM (complementary alternative medicine) circles to focus on issues (or non-issues) like the FDA's CAM Guidance document or this or that piece of proposed Congressional legislation that might at some future time negatively impact the public's ability to access nutritional supplements. In this writer's opinion, this kind of preoccupation is equivalent to rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic while the ship is bearing down on the fatal iceberg.
The “iceberg” looming ahead for proponents of CAM and alternative medicine, as well as for every American who believes in freedom of medical choice, is universal (government-controlled) health care. And surveying the political landscape, seventeen months before the 2008 Presidential and Congressional elections, it looks like it will take a miracle to stop its final advance.
“Universal health care” is a clever, Orwellian attempt at Newspeak – giving a palatable or neutral name to government-run (or completely socialized) conventional medicine and shoving it down the throats of the American people. Clearly, the spin has been largely successful. Continue reading . . .
Tempests in a Teapot Brew and Subside, and Other Real and Accurate Alternative Medical News
(May 15, 2007) As I reported on May 1, a classic tempest in a teapot was brewing all spring as a number of self-styled “health freedom” groups and individuals attempted to foment a massive Internet-driven e-uprising to challenge the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) supposed intention to regulate complementary alternative medicine (CAM). Continue reading . . .
New Controversies Challenge the Health Freedom Movement - Health Freedom Rights and Universal Health Care Make It to National Talk Radio
(May 1, 2007, last updated 5/2/7 09:04 GMT) In recent weeks, few Internet users have not been subjected to a large number of “sky is falling” e-mails, emanating from a variety of groups, calling attention to alleged imminent threats to Americans' continued access to nutritional supplements and other CAM (complementary alternative medicine) modalities at the hands of the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and, more recently, the Congress in the form of a U.S. Senate FDA reform bill, S. 1082 (see end of this article for an update on S. 1082). A number of blogs have now taken up the cause, this one at Daily Kos being an example.
The ball got rolling in this area on April 5, when something called the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF) began sending out hyperbolic-sounding mass e-mails on a sensational new subject. Continue reading . . .
Government Begins to Enforce Conventional (Allopathic) Medicine Mandates on Americans
The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false-face for the urge to rule it. – Minority Report: H. L. Mencken's Notebooks (1956) p. 247
(April 15, 2007) The concept of “universal health care,” reportedly so popular with the American electorate now, may at first glance sound appealing. We are told that under a “single payer” (government-run) system, one can just sit back, theoretically at least, and stop worrying as cradle to grave health care will be made available to everyone on an equal basis – the best that American medicine has to offer, infinitely more affordable, possibly even free, to masses of people who are currently losing sleep over the possibility of going bankrupt under the problematic status quo health care delivery system (a mix of the free market and big government programs like Medicaid and Medicare) or who have no health insurance at all.
As usual, however, there are prices to be paid for such a Faustian bargain, with the uncontrolled financial costs and other downsides rarely if ever made apparent, or admitted, at the onset of a new government program.
Among the indirect costs are the emerging plans to set up huge new government databases (tapping into and mining private commercial databases) and large new bureaucracies to “track down” and enforce compliance on residents who fail to buy approved medical coverage. Continue reading . . .
April Fool’s Alt Med News Updates
(April 1, 2007) I wish these developments were April Fool’s jokes, but unfortunately each one is all too true.
As I have been documenting in recent articles, the advance toward “universal health care” (socialized medicine) in the United States is continuing, with ever greater momentum in the political and media spheres. In fact, it is impossible for one person, no matter how much time he has on his hands and Internet access and searching skills he has at his disposal, to keep up with it all.
Each day, there are scores if not hundreds of new articles, Op-Ed opinion pieces, white papers, public opinion polls, scientific journal articles, blog entries, political speeches, proposed laws, and more – all advancing the idea that conventional allopathic health care is a “right” which must be guaranteed to and forced on all U.S. residents by the government. Continue reading . . .
The Mandatory HPV Vaccine: Where O Where is the Alt Med Community?
(March 15, 2007) In the wake of surprisingly widespread and vocal public opposition to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s order on February 2nd that all girls who attend school in his state must receive the new vaccination for HPV (the sexually transmitted human papillomavirus) when they enter the sixth grade – a series of three shots that can cost a total of $360 or more and have, according to some critics, unknown health and medical impacts – the Texas House voted 119-21 on March 13th to support a bill by a Republican legislator that says the vaccine cannot be a condition for school entry. The corrective legislation will go next to the Texas Senate, which is expected to pass it, and then to the governor, who may veto it.
The nationwide momentum on the part of conventional physicians, drug industry lobbyists, and politicians to mandate the vaccine, called Gardasil and manufactured by Merck, for girls ages 10-12 has not slowed, however. On March 1st, Virginia's Democrat Gov. Tim Kaine announced that he would sign a bill that will require sixth grade girls to receive the HPV vaccine beginning Oct. 1, 2008. An indication of mainstream media spin is the Washington Post's editorial “A Shot of Common Sense” (March 9th), which says that Kaine's decision “brought some much-needed sense” to the “increasingly irrational national debate” about mandating HPV vaccines. Continue reading . . .
(January 1, 2007) In this space early in 2005, I asked the question “Is Alternative Medicine Dead?” My analysis then was somewhat equivocal. As the New Year 2007 dawns, however, the answer, in my opinion, would have to be an unqualified “yes.”
Throughout the past year the signs of alternative medicine's demise were increasingly unmistakable, although, for most interested observers, they were probably well below or completely off the radar screen of awareness. That's because the non-threatening, watered down hybrids, called “CAM” (complementary alternative medicine) or “integrative medicine,” that have virtually replaced primary alternative medicine are now entrenched and well accepted – providing people who are inclined to, or profiting from, natural healing with a false sense of reassurance.
A sign of this phenomenon might be my experience in walking through a large Macy's department store at the fashionable Fashion Valley mall in San Diego last month. Plastered on a floor to ceiling advertising kiosk in the cosmetics department was a larger than life black and white photo of “the foremost authority on integrative health,” Andrew Weil, M.D., selling skin beauty creams. Clearly, CAM (or “integrative health”) has arrived. Continue reading . . .
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