The hostile and divisive health care debate

So much energy wasted — yet our health continues to worsen

Relax, I am not going to waste much time debating health care reform, but I would like to tell you about a recent experience. Last month, I met Dr. John McDonough of the Harvard Department of Public Health. He served seven terms in the Massachusetts House of Representatives and was appointed by his good friend, Ted Kennedy,  to work on the original bipartisan health care bill (that ended up partisan) in the U.S. Senate long before Barack Obama took office.

This is the certificate in plant-based nutrition that John and I earned two years ago. 

A distinguished expert on public health policy and a regular blogger for the Boston Globe, Dr. Mcdonough also holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Foundation and Cornell. And, like me, he is 100% certain that we’ll never “fix” health care until we “fix” what’s driving most of our bad health — the food we eat.”

Also like me, he is pretty much disgusted with the ineffective political football that health care has become; blogging recently on the Globe website:

While a large proportion of Americans say they don’t like “ObamaCare (Affordable Care Act or ACA), they also say they like many of the law’s provisions. But Mitt and his competitors for the Republican presidential nomination never get asked about those individual provisions the public likes. And the press corps has been thoroughly complicit in letting them get away with this.

He then goes on to list a total of fifty provisions that most people like and implores the media to start asking questions about those popular provisions, which are probably completely unknown to the general public. All they know is that if they vote Republican; then they don’t like ObamaCare. Period. He wants the media to start asking Romney, Gingrich and others if they are committed to repealing provisions such as this one:

The ACA (ObamaCare) Requires health insurances to cover proven clinical preventive services without co-pays or deductibles.

He also listed 49 other provisions that most Americans would like if they even knew about them. At the bottom of his post, I scanned the four or five comments that were there and it seemed that most were disagreeing vehemently with what he had to say. A registered independent myself, I decided to post a comment, complimenting the clear, understandable manner that my friend presented the facts. Here is my post:

Hey John, I love the way you present the facts. I wasn’t aware of all of those provisions of “ObamaCare” and I would guess that less than one percent of our voters are. And the candidates trying to beat Obama are certainly not going to tell them.

As we discussed over lunch recently, we’re never going to “fix health care” until we FIX what’s driving the vast majority of our health problems — THE FOOD. I look forward to working with you in the future to do just that. Regards, J. Morris Hicks, author, “Healthy Eating, Healthy World.”

After sharing the above interchange with a few friends, I heard back from a few of them — some Republicans, some Democrats. But the best comment that I heard came from a British friend of mine — now an American citizen living in Atlanta.

See comment about the “Sisyphean task” in Nigel’s comments below.

Nigel and I visited Dr. T. Colin Campbell last month in Ithaca, NY. Next month, he will begin the plant-based nutrition course and will soon join me, John McDonough and hundreds of physicians each year who are now earning CME (continuing medical education) credits by completing that course. Also not wanting to debate the issue, Nigel offered the following comment. I love it.

We could get into protracted discussions about ObamaCare, but I doubt that either of us would change our position or be one whit better off. Frankly, I am doubtful that a political “solution” is possible given the poisoned state of US politics at the moment.

The solution might come from a groundswell of popular affront at the ever increasing health care tax that is foisted on us all. As you say, we should focus on more important issues, which you, Jim and others attack with unflaggging energy and enthusiasm.

Sometimes it does feel like a Sisyphean task…except the stone is a pile of BS. With kindest regards, Nigel.

Not only did I love his comment, I also learned a new word, Sisyphean. From Greek and Roman mythology. Sisyphus, a king, was punished by being compelled roll an immense boulder up a hill — only to have it roll back down; and to repeat this task throughout eternity. Want to learn more about Nigel Richardson? Check out page 45 in our book.

The bottom line for me. My focus continues to be 100% on the FOOD solution to the health care mess that we’re in. I have no time or interest in the constant, and pretty much futile, never-ending debate regarding the CARE portion of the mess. Hey, we’ve got a planet to save here. We can’t waste ANY time rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Click here for my earlier post on Dr. John McDonough. By the way, he loved our book. If you’d like to order our book on Amazon,  visit our BookStore now.

J. Morris Hicks, author and activist. Working daily to promote health, hope and harmony on planet Earth.

Want to receive some occasional special news from us? You may wish to join our periodic mailing list. Also, for help in your own quest to take charge of your health, you might find some useful information at our 4-Leaf page.

And if you like what 4-Leaf eating is doing for you and your family, you might enjoy visiting our new “4-Leaf Gear” store. From the seaside village of Stonington, Connecticut – Be well and have a great day.

—J. Morris Hicks…blogging daily at

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About J. Morris Hicks

A former strategic management consultant and senior corporate executive with Ralph Lauren in New York, J. Morris Hicks has always focused on the "big picture" when analyzing any issue. In 2002, after becoming curious about our "optimal diet," he began a study of what we eat from a global perspective ---- discovering many startling issues and opportunities along the way. In addition to an MBA and a BS in Industrial Engineering, he holds a certificate in plant-based nutrition from the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies, where he has also been a member of the board of directors since 2012. Having concluded that our food choices hold the key to the sustainability of our civilization, he has made this his #1 priority---exploring all avenues for influencing humans everywhere to move back to the natural plant-based diet for our species.
This entry was posted in Activism & Leadership, Food Policy. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The hostile and divisive health care debate

  1. Frank L says:

    I’m with you, fix the real problem (general diet in the US) and the more publicized health care fight will diminish or maybe disappear someday soon. It will require changing most peoples’ food choices and that seems daunting!
    Just finished your book and I highly recommend it!

  2. Bill K. says:


    I totally agree! Make the populace healthy so they will no longer require “health care”. Debate over!

    Bill K.

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