Whole Health Plan
The Cost of A Healthy America
Today’s healthcare system puts an unbalanced focus on treating the symptoms of illness at the expense of treating their cause.
Until we ask why so many of us experience chronic illness to begin with – far more than citizens of comparably wealthy countries – then we will continue to experience unsatisfactory results in healthcare.
The WHOLE HEALTH PLAN expands the healthcare debate, tackling not only how to pay for healthcare but also how to provide greater opportunities for health. The problem in America is not just that our current healthcare system fails to adequately treat sickness. The problem is our current economic system, based as it is on an inordinate focus on short-term profit, actually increases the probability of sickness.
Healthy food, healthy water, and healthy air are regularly sacrificed at the altar of short-term profits for Big Food, Big Agricultural and Big Chemical companies. A less stressful lifestyle is sacrificed at the altar of corporate greed, making the average American work harder and longer for less money, with too little time and energy for health-enhancing activities.
Social determinants such as food and income contribute heavily to the physical condition of our bodies, and cannot be ignored in any serious discussion of creating a healthier America.
The factors mentioned above are the root causes of illness and will be addressed by a Williamson administration through vigorous regulatory procedures. We will begin with a concerted effort to remove toxins in our water, food and air that increase the probability of illness.
The Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control will regain their rightful authority to protect Americans from overreach by corporate forces that would sacrifice our health in favor of short-term profits. No longer will government agencies cover up for, cozy up to, or in any way serve the entities whose overreach they were established to protect us from.
Addressing these factors is essential to good health. Under Williamson’s plan, programs that are proven to be effective at helping people adopt these approaches will be covered as a health expense.
Nutrition plays a critical role in the prevention and treatment of many chronic diseases, diet being one of the most significant risk factors for disability and premature death. Leading causes of death in the United States include heart disease, cancer, stroke, and diabetes—all of which have a high correlation to poor diet and nutrition.
Under the Whole Health Plan, the Williamson Administration will:
- Move beyond the current disease care system, and build a true healthcare system. Health and wellness will be proactively supported in a Williamson administration. We will promote healthy eating through nutrition education, encourage active lifestyles by building more parks with walking paths and physical recreation equipment, and provide greater access to bicycles. We will provide refundable tax credits for gym memberships, supporting people in putting healthy eating and regular exercise into their lives.
- Address unhealthy water and air, higher toxin exposures such as lead, and limited opportunities to purchase healthy food because of high cost and low availability – all factors which impact health.
- Improve food quality. Poor diet is one of the leading causes of premature death and chronic disease. In my administration, we will fund research regarding which foods can help us be healthier and live longer.
- Reduce toxins in our environment and our food that can lead to illness. Williamson will appoint an outstanding environmentalist to head the Environmental Protection Agency and scientists to lead the US Department of Agriculture and the Food & Drug Administration. Their research will be untainted by corporate interests, and the policies which follow will reflect their findings. Williamson will appoint an inter-agency work group to assess ways to reduce the negative impact of environmental, food and water toxins on our health.
- Encourage and incentivize regenerative agriculture and reduce the use of pesticides. Enforce consumer protections by more regular and serious food inspections; inspectors will be newly empowered to protect the citizens of our country from the hazards of disease-causing agents.
- Support the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to phase out the practice of using antibiotics to promote growth in farm animals, and end the inhumane practice of animal factory farming. Overuse of antibiotics in animals leads to increased risk of antibiotic-resistant infections in humans, according to the CDC. “Up to half of antibiotic use in humans and much of antibiotic use in animals is unnecessary and inappropriate and makes everyone less safe,” the CDC has stated. “Stopping even some of the inappropriate and unnecessary use of antibiotics in people and animals would help greatly in slowing down the spread of resistant bacteria.”
- Keep weed killer out of our food. Many weed killers like the herbicide glyphosate end up in our food. This herbicide has been linked with cancer by the World Health Organization and the state of California. Glyphosate is the world’s most commonly used weed killer. Some foods including commonly used cereals have it. Primarily used as a weed killer, but is also used to harvest crops like oats, wheat and barley.⁴ A recent study by researchers from the University of Washington shows that exposure to glyphosate raises the cancer risk by 41%. After being sued for selling Monsanto’s Roundup without adequate cancer warnings, the retailer Costco has stopped selling the product.⁵ We need strong action to keep dangerous herbicides and pesticides out of our food.
- Prevent and reverse many diseases through lifestyle changes: This has been demonstrated in medical research to be effective. The European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition study showed that changes in nutrition and lifestyle factors could potentially prevent 93% of diabetes, 81% of heart attacks, 50% of strokes and 36% of all cancers. This trend is backed up also in studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in their joint Diabetes Prevention Program, and others. Dr. Dariush Mozaffarian, dean of the Tufts Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Dan Glickman, secretary of agriculture from 1995 to 2001, show similar benefits in their NY Times article “Our Food Is Killing Too Many of Us.”
- The Williamson administration will provide major funding for research and education around how health is impacted by nutrition, exercise, stress, community and toxins in our food and environment. It will also support effective leading-edge approaches like Integrative and Functional medicine—which take a whole body systems approach to cultivating health and healing disease.
- We will support the distribution of fresh healthy food to underserved communities – benefiting health among all our citizens, foster our children’s developmental capabilities, and serve the environment rather than dumping abundance in landfills.
- Centers providing stress-reduction benefits like yoga and meditation, and community centers promoting connections that help us care for ourselves and each other, will receive government support. Some level of stress is normal; however, American society today is at a level of toxic stress that is already resulting in myriad biological and mental dysfunctions. We will act on the knowledge that stress suppresses the immune system, and that reducing stress improves both our biological and mental health.
- Support full inclusion of people with disabilities. As many as 60 million Americans have some kind of disability. Williamson’s administration will work to provide services that enable people with disabilities to live as independently as possible, that protect their civil rights, and that promote their full inclusion in society. This includes quality healthcare as well as closing disparities in employment, housing, transportation, and education. President Williamson will work to pass the Disability Integration Act that would cover home healthcare and fully fund the Individuals with Disabilities Act.
- Treat gun violence as an issue of public health. The Williamson administration will move to prevent Physician Gag Laws and restore research on gun safety as a health issue, which the National Rifle Association wants to block, and allow medical professionals to discuss gun safety with patients.
- Health promotion and disease prevention will save billions of dollars in healthcare costs. We will also provide health coaches to serve people in making the kinds of lifestyle changes that most benefit their health.
Highlights: What This Plan Achieves
Williamson’s plan for a thriving universal Whole Healthcare System actively supports health and wellness, improves care, and reduces costs by focusing on preventing illness, value and competitive pricing.
- Dental, vision, and hearing expansion of benefits. Our eyes, ears, and teeth are not separate from the rest of our body, and they can not be separate from healthcare coverage.
- Long term care – expand benefits to include home and community based care, expand coverage for long term care equipment, and support our precious care givers.
- Preventive Care will be included as part of the single-payer healthcare system. We don’t have a healthcare model of prevention in this country. All the profit incentives are around Treatment, and in the case of health insurance, of preventing Treatment.
- Coverage for programs that promote health by improving diet, increasing exercise, managing stress and providing social support in ways that are scientifically shown to prevent and even reverse disease.
- Reduce prices of prescription drugs by restoring the government’s right to negotiate prices. If pharmaceutical companies do not bring prices down to reasonable levels, the Williamson administration will exercise its March In rights under the Bayh Dole legislation allowing the government to give patent rights for drugs developed with government funds to another company that will offer lower prices.
- Future drug development conducted by the National Institutes of Health to eliminate the profit incentive and give the government the patents to produce the drugs if prices are excessively high.
- Restore and expand funding for comparative effectiveness research to find the most effective treatment options to improve health. Studies will include nutrition, exercise, and complementary medicines along with other treatments. These approaches can lead to both better health and dramatic cost savings.
- Require health professionals to inform patients of different options for treatment. Just as financial professionals who are fiduciaries are required to recommend investments which they believe are best for the client (not what brings the advisor the most commission), health professionals will be required to recommend treatments which they know are shown to be effective. For example, someone with high cholesterol can be told that one treatment is drugs with side effects, and another treatment is changes in diet and exercise.
- The administration will provide more public education around good nutrition and support for integrating optimal nutrition into our lives. The USDA nutrition guidelines will reflect the best research, and that research will not be influenced by corporate interests.
With 500,000 Americans going into medical debt every year; 85 million Americans uninsured or underinsured; 68,000 Americans dying every year from lack of healthcare; and 18 million Americans every year unable to fulfill their medical prescriptions, a Marianne Williamson Presidency will use the full power of her administration to further the creation of Universal Healthcare in America.
While our entire medical debt is $88 billion, the top five pharmaceutical companies in America made over $80 billion in profit last year alone. This is morally unacceptable. Getting sick should not be a death sentence or a prelude to bankruptcy. We must join the entire rest of the developed world and guarantee healthcare to all through a comprehensive Medicare for All single-payer program.
The national healthcare budget was over 4 trillion dollars in 2022 of which one-third does not treat illness, but overhead and profiteering. Less than 2 percent is spent on prevention. We will end the incredible amount of waste in our healthcare system. The Whole Health System will leave nobody behind and ensure the prosperity of employees and employers, seniors and young people, entrepreneurs, and consumers.
Stop Big Pharma’s Price Gouging
As a nation, we pay the highest drug prices in the world. According to the National trends in prescription drug expenditures and projections for 2022, drug expenditures were $39.6 billion and $105.0 billion in nonfederal clinics and hospitals. Big Pharma companies make too much money off people becoming sick.
- A Universal Healthcare system will reverse the restrictions of the federal government negotiating drug prices. The negotiating power of 300 million customers will allow the median price of prescription drugs to be lowered.
- Medication prices are out of control, for example, Insulin prices have increased more than 600% over the last twenty years. A Williamson administration will put an end to price gouging, and cap insulin costs for all.
- If life-saving drugs are being excessively priced, a Williamson administration will forward the Secretary of Health & Human Services to use compulsory licensure, to allow for competitive “generic” production of those same drugs at more affordable prices.
- Williamson’s health plan will allow the importation of safe and approved prescription drugs at competitively lower costs.
- The U.S. Government spends billions of dollars in grants to pharmaceutical research. When those medications get to market, they are sometimes marked-up 10 times their production cost. It is unacceptable for Big Pharma to fleece Americans who helped fund the creation of those medicines.
- The Williamson Administration’s healthcare agenda will be set by the needs of the American people, not Big Pharma and the insurance company lobbyists.
- Healthcare insurance companies add no value to healthcare — they are merely a middle-man ripping you off, denying you care, extracting wealth from the interaction between a doctor and their patients. A Williamson administration will make sure we are going to have the healthcare we need.
- For patients, no more endless back and forth with insurance companies. Doctors will no longer need to beg insurance operatives to get medication for their patients.
- Universal healthcare increases our standard of living.
Addressing the Rural Health Crisis
The For-Profit model has failed to provide quality healthcare to rural America. Lack of facilities and personnel shortages have made it difficult to handle the health crises affecting these areas.
- Limitations in federal funding have imposed restrictions on residency placement. According to The Student Doctor Network, every doctor must complete their residency in order to work. This cap has limited physicians in their practice in America. A Williamson administration will lift the cap and provide funds for residents.
- The Williamson administration will address the shortage of medical hospital personnel in rural communities by increasing funds for Community Health Centers.
- High costs of education have prevented students from entering the medical field. The Williamson administration will support tuition-free colleges and universities to help allow doctors to enter the workplace without the overwhelming burdens of student loan debt.
- Many rural areas are geographically isolated, and lack of transportation prevents patients from seeing their primary care physicians. By making Telehealth accessible, and by altering regulations on broadband, more patients can access their primary care doctors from the comfort of their homes.
- The rate of addiction and drug overdoses is higher in rural America, and most counties don’t have medical professionals who specialize in treating addiction. Telehealth can help deliver treatment for opioid use disorder by making it easier for those suffering from addiction to speak to specialists.
- Require our healthcare system to reimburse medical professionals for a broader array of lifestyle and nutrition support, focused on preventing disease and/or addressing root causes.
- Longer visits with doctors and/or their support staff to better equip patients with the skills necessary to make lifestyle changes.
- Provide patients with more robust ongoing support from nutritionists, health coaches, therapists and mental health, exercise specialists, and other peripheral lifestyle treatment providers.
- Integrate world-class technology and systems for better collaboration and cost-savings among healthcare providers.
- Fund programs in all our educational systems, pre-k through college, designed to teach nutrition and lifestyle skills to help cultivate long-term health.
- Restrict the marketing of overly-processed and sugary foods to our children.
- Stop subsidies for agricultural production of unhealthy foods, like high-fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated fats, and incentivize and subsidize farmers, ranchers, and food companies for more healthy food production, making it affordable and available.
- Shape food policies using cutting-edge public health science instead of following the lead of lobbyists for industries whose sole focus is profit.
- Secure and expand the role of the EPA and the FDA to keep toxins out of our environment and food supplies.
- Examine national stress levels, and develop ways to lower stress societally. That means addressing vacation time, protecting a manageable work week, and taking a close look at how our electronic devices impact our lives. Just as the FDA is supposed to make recommendations about how we eat, the FDA should study and make constructive recommendations on how we consume data from our phones and devices.
- The United States needs to develop healthy habits at a community level. Towns and cities should look collectively at how active their populations are, and institute more ways to increase physical activity through walking paths, bike paths, and community events.
- The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should investigate how hospitals overcharge patients, and the Justice Department antitrust division should explore ways to immediately remove as much of the profit motive out of medicine as we can.
This is how a mature debate begins on the issue of healthcare. As with most issues, the underlying problem is the corporate dominance of American governmental policies.
The amount of money being made off the current healthcare system is a shocking exploitation of the people in the United States.
THE WHOLE HEALTH PLAN will save the American people billions of dollars annually.
Most importantly, it will save lives.
The Cost of a Healthy America
We “cannot afford” not to have universal healthcare. Studies show we would spend less money on a universal medicare-for-all system than our current failed system. Moreover, there is no way to measure the amount of money that does not enter our economy based on the fact that so many Americans are too stressed and anxious to create and produce at the level that they otherwise could. “What will I do if I get sick?” “What will I do if one of my kids get sick?” “I hate this job, but I stay because of the healthcare benefits.” Every one of those questions is a limit on a life that would otherwise produce more.
This is why we need universal healthcare coverage. In the richest country on earth, millions of people should not be living with chronic fear and anxiety based on the difficulty of providing for the basics of life. The fact that such difficulty exists is itself a problem we need to address. When we do, we face up to the basic inequity of the economic system that dominates our society today.