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Articles    H3'ed 2/26/10

The Politics of Responsibility, Self Regulation & Optimal Functioning

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But we don't have to wait until catastrophe strikes. Actually, Tenner describes how we have shifted from an era of discovery of cures for acute illness to an era in which we are challenged to deal with chronic illness. And we know that this is where reductionist medicine is far less effective, where one might even say it fails. It is where a health responsibility model must be employed. The problem is that the reductionist medical model sabotages responsibility, as Illich and Tenner state.

America was founded with the clear vision that self-responsibility, independence, self-reliance were all strong positive vales and personal traits of a person with character. They're as American as apple pie. But as I have pointed out, they are being eroded. It will now require a national commitment to rescuing these endangered values. We need to take our case to the American people and seek legislation to require health insurers to include the right to self-responsibility based approaches to health and illness.

At first, I was going to propose that we need to drum up legislative support for NIH to spend 100 times more money (about a billion a year or three percent of the budget) on developing responsibility-based health approaches.

But after further thought, I believe we should be asking for an equal budget for responsibility and optimal fucntioning (the logical consequence for taking responsibility for achieving your potential) oriented science, research,, technology and service development. investing in the character of the American people, in bringing out our people's best will produce a return on investment in many ways-- new jobs, better performance at work, lessened crime, better school work, new industries. We can even develop a counterpart to the technology incubators for character, responsibility, compassion and optimal functioning service start-ups.

A few years ago, I commissioned a Zogby poll which asked questions about self responsibility in health care. The bi-partisan response supporting it was strong-- even stronger among conservatives than liberals-- an interesting lesson for the conservatives now opposing the reform of the health care system.

I believe that this kind of agenda could reverberate in the heartstrings of Americans from all walks of life at a bipartisan level of support. Framing the threat of the erosion of basic American values with the promise of answers to chronic illness, we offer something powerful, with a real chance of getting legislative and financial support. We need to, deserve to and should be proud of our work. We are doing the right thing and as Julie Gold, the writer of the song, FROM A DISTANCE, played on the air more than four million times, who still struggles to get her work accepted said,
"Realize you have the potential and power to touch and affect millions of people. Remember above all, if you believe you are right, then you are and your critics are wrong."

Now, if you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, here are a few steps you can take. First, make a clear decision and commitment within yourself, that you are a part of this movement, that you are proud of the vision you hold and the path you are on. You don't need to apologize to anyone. You can decide to take action. What action can you take?

-You can educate the professionals around you. Don't worry about the anals who religiously demand double
blind studies, the negatives, the fundamentalists. Expect that 25%-30% of the people on this planet are afraid of change or have vested interests in keeping things the way they are. The rest of the people either don't care or will be happy to hear your message. And since, as we know from the 80-20 rule, only about five to twenty percent of the population really makes anything happen, you just need to connect with those people.

-Allow yourself to make a good living but also do service-- pro-bono work with people who can't afford the fees you must charge because insurance doesn't reimburse. The good you do will come back to you manyfold.

-Get involved with advocacy plans-- legislative, PR, insurance with your professional organizations.

-get involved in building a model, a vision, a plan for a new approach.

- Get your clients to become aware of the issues. Teach them to think about health responsibility and to see
what insurance and managed care is doing. They are the choir. They are ready to hear it. This is how we
get a grassroots support network going.

-contact your legislators. Call their offices and tell them you want health, not illness care and that you want a system that expects patients to take responsibility for their health.

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One theme has run through my work for the past 40 plus years-- a desire to play a role in waking people up, raising their consciousness and empowering them. I was the organizer founder of the Winter Brain, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology and StoryCon Meetings and president of Futurehealth, Inc., with interests in (more...)

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