THE ELECTION – WHAT’S NATURAL HEALTH GOT TO DO WITH IT?

ONCE UPON A TIME, NOT SO LONG AGO . . .

•    The FDA was the country’s largest law enforcement agency.

•    Conventional wisdom at the FDA, in many political circles, and in orthodox medicine was that the use of dietary supplements was quackery.

•    The FDA’s ally, the Federal Trade Commission, tried to ban the words, “natural,” “organic” and “health food” from the marketplace.

•    Among guns, cigarettes, booze and vitamins, only vitamins were illegal.

And then along came the courage of natural health retailers and natural healthcare providers. This joined the power of natural health consumers.  Laws were passed, including the Dietary Supplement, Health and Education Act (DSHEA) in 1994, and things changed.  And though there has always been more work to be done, we’ve enjoyed freer access to dietary supplements, to natural health products and services, and a freer exchange of natural health information.

But Still . . .

•    The American Medical Association claims that a majority of Americans want more government regulation of dietary supplements and natural health care.

•    A number of key senators have criticized DSHEA, either because its badly written, or it’s been exploited by the supplement industry, or its been mismanaged by the FDA, or all of the above.  One House Representative, John Dingle from Michigan, has called for repeal of DSHEA altogether.

•    Others who have expressed criticism about DSHEA and its implementation include Sen. John McCain on the one hand, and Sen. Richard Durbin on the other hand, who is a close ally and advisor of Sen. Obama’s.

•    Influential lobbyists are working to require pre-market approval for dietary supplements, so that they will be regulated more like drugs.

•    The pressure to increase regulation of dietary supplements in the U.S. is coming from not just within our borders, but also from other countries where access to natural dietary supplements is more limited.

AN OPEN LETTER TO ALL CITIZENS FOR HEALTH

If you’re like those of us behind the scenes here at CFH – ardent supporters of natural health – you may find yourself shaking your head when the subject of healthcare reform comes up in the election debates and policy discussions.  What these folks are talking about is not healthcare reform.  What they’re talking about is health insurance reform – the finance and administration of the “sick care” system.

A real discussion about healthcare reform isn’t going to take place until natural health is included as part of the discussion.  And natural health has got to be a major part of the discussion at that, rather than referred to as a marginalized “alternative.”  All the information we see today about natural health – wellness & lifestyle practices, dietary supplements and autonomous healing methods – is just the beginning.  It’s no time to turn back!

What’s the big deal?

Do you hear the candidates talking about natural health, about the FDA or DSHEA, or about the legislation on dietary supplements that’s now pending before Congress?  From any of the candidates, presidential, federal or local?

We don’t.  And we think that could be a big problem.

Did you know that in all likelihood more than half of those in Congress who passed DSHEA in 1994 will no longer be in Congress after this election?

Did you know that there is legislation pending now before Congress that will affect how DSHEA will work in the future?  Some of that legislation is helpful.  Some of it won’t be. Did you know that there will be a major focus on food safety in the next Congress that could be used to rollback natural health rights?  Did you know that the next president and his allies will appoint the next FDA Commissioner?

Did you know that by many estimates the FDA regulates about 35% of the gross national product, between food, drugs and medical devices ranging from x-ray machines to bathroom scales?  That’s 1/3rd of every dollar we spend, regulated by the FDA!  This figure dwarfs the financial bailout.

How much of this are you willing to leave to chance, or worse, to the intentions of others?

We’ve got to be prepared

We know it’s late in the game, and these upcoming elections are not apt to be won or lost on the natural health issues – at least not this time.  Nevertheless, the candidates are more transparent now than they’re going to be after the elections.  So it’s a great time to do some homework and then really get prepared for action in the coming months.

The Next Steps

Over the next ten days, we’ll be sharing information about the presidential candidates’ positions on issues related to natural health.  This is information that hasn’t been evident in the media. We’ll also share information about what’s happening on the Congressional level, along with some tools you can use to research how natural health issues are playing out in your local elections.  We’ll give you information about the legislative committees and caucuses in Washington D.C. that are worthy of close attention.  And we’ll highlight the probable changes that will be coming at us soon after the elections are over.

So get ready to self-educate and prepare for the challenge ahead.   Stay with us, and invite your friends and colleagues into the coming dialogue by encouraging them to join Citizens For Health today.

http://www.citizens.org/

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