One of the most hotly discussed topics in American politics has been the healthcare debate. One of the benefits of this debate and discussion has been the new focus on “whole-person” healthcare.
The Congressional Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus is a bipartisan congressional effort started by Colorado representatives Jared Polis (D) and Mike Coffman (R). These two legislators are trying to give their colleagues in Congress as well as other officials the opportunity to learn more about this new whole-person initiative and other issues in the healthcare system without letting partisan politics cloud the discussion. Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine and Health Sciences (SCNM) would like to lend our support to this movement that we feel has the potential to reshape American healthcare in a positive way.
In the past, the American healthcare system has been focused specifically on treatment: a patient gets sick, goes to the doctor, and receives treatment for that specific ailment. This ignores the “whole-person” approach to healthcare that focuses on prevention and promotion of an overall healthy lifestyle. In the process, this style of healthcare policy costs Americans billions of dollars because it does not take into account preventative medicine. Which would be most beneficial: paying to treat a disease after a person contracts it, or paying less in the long run to ensure that the person never gets the disease in the first place? The answer is obvious.
This caucus will be an educational forum that will allow policymakers to learn about healthcare policies, practices, and research from a variety of experts in the field. It will also allow them a public avenue to discuss these topics freely and to suggest and propose legislation that will have a positive impact on the health of the population and the healthcare system as a whole.
The whole person philosophy of healthcare does not look at just one primary physician handling all aspects of your care in a “one-size-fits-all” manner. Instead, it looks at a team of physicians, nurses, dieticians, and other healthcare professionals including those in naturopathic medicine to provide a variety of treatments that will help Americans stay healthy. This is especially important with two of the biggest health issues facing Americans today: the problems with chronic pain and the opioid epidemic that has been created by the overprescribing of narcotic pain medication. The opioid epidemic alone is now costing American taxpayers $500 billion a year to treat, and local fire departments have to spend more time dealing with overdoses than they are with actually fighting fires. The opioid crisis is a problem that stretches beyond the realm of healthcare, and the Congressional Integrative Health and Wellness Caucus is a positive step towards combating this issue.
We are calling on you to take action. Please write your local congressional leaders and ask them to sign on as members of this caucus. Request that they join this bipartisan movement to look at the whole person when it comes to fixing our healthcare system.