Guest Commentary: Money, Politics and Health: Finally a remedy that can work!

When it comes to buying influence in healthcare, it really doesn’t matter if the money comes from Pacs, Super Pacs or wealthy individuals.  The end result is the same:  Increased profits for the large pharmaceutical companies, increased barriers and complexity for those in alternative health modalities, and a decrease in the overall health of Americans.

Certainly, an awareness of the games conventional medicine plays and the wisdom to overcome them is one of the first prerequisites for a career in alternative medicine.  Alternative healthcare practitioners have numerous examples, both historical and current, of effective treatments that have been suppressed, attacked or denied FDA approval for no apparent or logical reason.  If not for the commitment to providing effective health solutions, there certainly could be less controversial career choices.

One of the more blatant attacks to human health was the recent failure of the Initiative to label GMOs here in Washington State. It was a seemingly logical request, to label GMOs in purchased food along with other currently labeled items such as fats, sugars and sodium.  In this campaign, over ten thousand donors who raised $7.7 million to require labeling were overpowered by 60 ‘Big Money’ donors with who raised $22 million.  The failure of this Initiative was a clear message that in America, money buys elections.

While money in politics has been a problem since the very beginning, there have been two recent Supreme Court rulings that have opened the floodgates for money to buy even more influence.  In 2010, in the Citizens United case, the Supreme Court granted corporations the same rights as individuals. Since individuals have the right to freedom of speech, corporations were granted the same rights.  But since a corporation can’t technically speak, they have been allowed to form Super Pacs to buy their right to free speech with money directly from their corporate treasury.  There is no limit to the amount of money that can be donated and no requirement to disclose these donations.  Since the 2010 ruling, money flowing into Super Pacs has literally skyrocketed, funding unlimited amounts of political influence in the form of lobbying and negative advertising.

It seems a bit simplistic, yet worth pointing out, that corporations are organized for the purpose of making a profit.  It stands to reason that when they get involved in politics, it is for the purpose of removing potential barriers for more profit.  Usually those barriers are in the form of regulations or laws put in place to protect Americans or the environment in which we live.  But with the influence of money, these regulations and laws can easily be set aside –  as alternative healthcare providers are well aware.

Just recently, the Supreme Court made a second ruling favoring the influence of money in politics.  In McCutcheon vs. Federal Election Commission, the Supreme Court ruled that wealthy individuals, who were recently limited to $123,000 in campaign donations, could now give up to $5.9 million per election cycle.  Since only 600 donors maxed out the $123,000 limitation in the last Presidential election, this clearly opens our elections to the influence and motivations of the wealthy elite.  Nine times out of ten, the most heavily funded candidate or cause wins the election.

If there is a positive side of these recent rulings, it is that perhaps that America is finally beginning to understand how the game of Big Money works.  For the longest time, there was a huge disconnect and only a few could ‘Follow the Money’ to understand that money in politics affects every aspect of American’s lives.

We would like to think that our system works for what is true and honest and right for each of us and America as a whole, but when you really see the game and follow the money, you realize that the pursuit of profits is the common denominator.  Indeed, the Big Money in healthcare, education, environment, military, politics, media and every gap in between influences our lives in ways we still do not comprehend.  The part we do comprehend is repulsive enough for Americans all over to call for change.

Not only is change possible, it is in the works!  Initiative-1329 is currently collecting signatures here in Washington State to get on the ballot in November calling for a Constitutional amendment to clarify that it is living, breathing, natural persons that our founding forefathers intended to receive Constitutional rights, not corporations.  It also calls for greater regulation of political contributions and expenditures.  You could say it is the civil rights movement of our day.

WANP member physician, Dr. Letitia Dick-Kronenberg of Windrose Clinic in Spokane is one of those actively calling for change.  She has placed a petition in her lobby giving her patients the opportunity to join the thousands of other Washington residents calling to get the money out of politics and therefore healthcare.

“This is something that is so important to change.  When have we even had the opportunity to voice our concerns in a meaningful way?  I have found my patients to be understanding and supportive of this issue.”

Concise Description:  This measure would urge Washington’s Congressional delegation to propose amending the Constitution to clarify that Constitutional rights apply to natural persons not corporations and to authorize greater regulation of political contributions and expenditures.  For more information, please visit:  www.s-m-a-c.org or www.wamend.org.

When we pass this Initiative at our polls in November, we will be the 17th state in the union to pass a recommendation to Congress calling for an amendment to the Constitution. We need to make a strong statement to get the attention of our politicians or 2/3 of the states to ratify the request calling for a Constitutional amendment.  It is important to note the Constitution has been amended 27 times before, with 7 of those times overturning Supreme Court rulings.

Make no mistake: This is a bi-partisan issue as both parties are abusing the Super Pacs in nearly equal amounts.  The end victims are the people in our country whose opinions are guided by mass media, whose health is compromised by profits, whose food is poisoned by unlabelled ingredients and whose environment is being polluted by big industry.

Among voters today, there are a fair number who have given up on the political process.  They either deem it too complicated to understand or too corrupt to bother trying, which makes the responsibility to enact change greater for the rest of us.

This is what it is going to take: One person at a time stepping forward and using their own voice and their own influence to join this movement and take back our government, our lives and our freedom.  We need every possible effort to get this on the ballot in November.

If you would like to join Dr. Dick-Kronenberg and the thousands of other I-1329 volunteers, please feel free to contact Stacy Cossey directly at (509) 220-6964 or scossey@robertcossey.com.  You may also contact either the Washington state organization at www.wamend.org or the Spokane organization at www.s-m-a-c.org.  We will make sure you have a volunteer packet and support whatever efforts you are willing to contribute.

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