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December 1999

John Hagelin on The Jim Bohannon Show

The following are excerpts from John Hagelin’s November 16 interview on The Jim Bohannon Show, a national radio talk show with an audience of 4 million people.

Jim Bohannon: For those not familiar with the Natural Law Party, what do you stand for?

John Hagelin: Forward-looking, prevention-oriented government. We stand for what works, basically. Politics based on the most effective solutions to national problems, not for what is bought and paid for by special interest groups or what’s politically expedient, but what’s best for the country.

Bohannon: That’s a good overview…. More specifically, what would you do about paying for the health care, particularly for the burgeoning number of the elderly in this country?

Hagelin: We do have a health care crisis in this country, but America’s health care crisis is a crisis of poor health. The Natural Law Party would get over the surface bickering over who will pay for whose disease and get to the root of the problem by improving the health of the country with prevention-oriented medicine, proven to prevent disease, promote heath, and save money in the best possible way—by keeping people healthy....

Bohannon: In what way would a political party or a presidential administration do that?

Hagelin: In exactly the opposite way it is happening today. Right now congressional statute bans prevention. It is illegal in the United States in that it is stricken from Medicare, Medicaid, all the government’s health care programs. There’s no reimbursement for the prevention of disease, for the promotion of health. We would change all that because the government’s own statistics say 70% of disease is preventable. Well, if that is the case, why is prevention illegal?…

Bohannon: Well, prevention obviously isn’t illegal, nor is support for prevention....

Hagelin: Let’s get specific. Let’s take heart disease, America’s number one killer. I just spoke to the U.S. Congress about this subject with the Surgeon General. America’s minorities suffer disproportionately high rates, by the way, of heart disease and high blood pressure. And yet the federal health care programs will not reimburse, for example, for a diet or exercise program, or a stress management program, that can prevent heart disease—but they will pay $40,000 or $50,000 the next year for a coronary bypass operation. That’s not cost-effective.

Bohannon: That’s an excellent idea! Okay, in other words, actually offering financial incentives with this kind of prevention. That’s a wonderful idea! In fact, I would think that that might be the basis of...almost the lead item in trying to sell your party.… Let’s go to our next call. This is from Robert in Burlington,Vermont. Good evening.

Caller: Hi, Jim. I’m really impressed with your guest tonight. I had never heard of him before. His commonsense approach to health astounds me. I mean, why haven’t we done this before?

Hagelin: The idea that we can go to a more foundational level of the problem and address America’s true health crisis, which is the fact that we have among the poorest health of any industrialized country, doesn’t seem to occur to politicians because that’s not the orientation that they have. That’s why I think it’s going to take a whole new party and a whole new generation of candidates—not career politicians—but good people who are in touch with commonsense ideas that are working to solve America’s problems…and that is what the Natural Law Party is all about....

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