The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: A Big Step Forward | 04/30/10

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The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) was signed into law by President Obama on March 23, 2010. In addition to expanding healthcare coverage to 31 million currently uninsured Americans, medical care will become more focused on helping people become truly well and avoiding unnecessary treatments. Here are some of the provisions that fit well with the McDougall Program, along with my comments:

Support comparative effectiveness research by establishing a non-profit Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute to identify research priorities and conduct research that compares the clinical effectiveness of medical treatments.

McDougall's Response: Research performed before the 1980s was largely untainted by the food and pharmaceutical industries. Observational studies published in respected medical journals demonstrated the curative benefits of a healthy starch-based diet for diseases as wide ranging as arthritis, angina, atherosclerosis, colitis, constipation, diabetes, hypertension, kidney disease, multiple sclerosis, obesity, and osteoporosis.

Over the past three decades industry has bought and paid for the patients, researchers, doctors, and medical journals that have produced the bulk of the published medical research. These papers are actually advertisements for their products and services. Big businesses have convinced the scientific community that only research performed by a double blind, placebo controlled methodology is acceptable--which means only medications can be properly tested and proven scientifically to be effective. (Diet and other lifestyle changes cannot be blinded for research purposes--whole foods cannot be hidden from the subjects, thus double blind studies are not possible. There is no placebo for food.)

Observational studies and single blind methodology are now regaining favor. In comparative studies the McDougall Diet will easily be found to result in a huge reduction in disease and suffering when compared to any and all medications currently used to treat chronic diseases. (Not just risk factor reductions, such as those accomplished by pharmaceuticals.)

Establish the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council to coordinate federal prevention, wellness, and public health activities. Develop a national strategy to improve the nation's health.

McDougall's Response: It's the food! Until the spotlight shines on the cause of most chronic illnesses there will be no real solutions. Recommendations for a better diet, which are currently considered prudent, sensible, and reasonable--such as to eat chicken, fish, and low-fat dairy products--have not and never will in the future bring about worthwhile improvements in people's health. Americans must learn to consume the bulk of their calories from starches: rice, potatoes, corn, wheat, and beans. This is a matter of national security, not just healthcare.

Establish a Prevention and Public Health Fund for prevention, wellness, and public health activities including prevention research and health screenings, the Education and Outreach Campaign for preventive benefits, and immunization programs.

McDougall's Response: Only three measures have reduced the incidence of disease throughout human history: immunizations, sanitation, and better nutrition. Health screenings, such as mammograms, PSA, and colon exams dramatically increase the incidence of disease and health costs, and at the same time harm people with few, hard to find, benefits. This fund needs to focus on what matters: diet and secondarily lifestyle.

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