Health, Medicine & Nutrition
The War on Me PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Ginny Grimsley   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:26
By: Letha Hadady, D.Ac.

Politicians arguing on the campaign trail carve up crucial issues of health and well-being by reducing them, especially Medicare and Medicaid, to numbers. Republicans would privatize Medicare, turning over this essential safety net for our seniors to private insurance companies. Have you dealt with one of your insurance companies lately?

Obamacare, passed into law by a Democratically controlled Congress, cuts some $700 billion from Medicare by limiting payments to doctors and hospitals. This will add to the list of hospitals and clinics going broke and to the physicians who refuse to accept patients who are on Medicare. Medicaid, which pays not only for services to the poor but nursing care for the elderly, is already in the tender grip of the hard-up states and is being slashed.

Politicians forget that everybody suffers from reduced health care. Germs and their attendant illnesses don’t care about the numbers: If I am sick, you are likely next in line. A hospital that must cut its cleaning staff will spread illness not only to its own patients but to the public. When it comes to health care, we are all in this together—which is why we must individually do more to protect ourselves, our families, and everybody else.

Last winter I retreated to my favorite hotel in the Florida Keys to finalize my most recent book, Naturally Pain Free (Sourcebooks, July 2012). While sunning at the pool I noticed a strange bite on my arm — from a flying insect or a spider? The bug bite was not warm or itchy, but I began to feel slightly feverish. After two decades running an alternative health practice based on traditional Asian medicines, I know trouble when I feel it. I quickly consulted a local physician who, even before the test proved positive, assured me I had contracted MRSA, the most dangerous of antibiotic-resistant staph infections.

Left untreated, MRSA can eat into flesh, and once it enters the bloodstream it is deadly. Rampant in hospitals, superbugs such as MRSA presently account for 100,000 deaths annually in the United States alone. Superbugs may be passed on at the pool, beach, gym, or yoga class. Pets can catch MRSA and pass it on to their owners. The Infectious Diseases Society of America warns, “because bacteria are constantly evolving and outsmarting the drugs used against them ... we are losing the ability to fight lethal infections.”

I passed on my infection to my lifelong partner (with a kiss and by sharing bedsheets,) but I learned not only how MRSA is treated but how to avoid it, which I incorporated into Naturally Pain Free. Personalized prevention (at home and in public) is the first defense for any illness and there are many natural therapies you can try that don’t require a prescription.

How’s your blood pressure? A little on the high side? You have lots of company. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 67 million Americans have hypertension but less than half are being treated. The condition can and does lead to discomfort, strokes, and heart attacks, the No. 1 killer of men and women.

Fortunately, you can lower your blood pressure by making a few dietary changes, doing simple, non-challenging exercises, and adding a few time-tested herbal remedies to your daily routine. (The information is available on my website,

Whether on my website, Facebook, or call-in radio shows, I am often asked for advice about curing or ameliorating pain -- backache, headache, carpal tunnel syndrome, toothache. The best answer is to take measures to ensure the body does not need to generate pain to call your attention to an underlying illness. However, an almost universal treatment to mitigate pain is centuries-old: acupuncture.

Many people suffer migraines. The most effective remedy addresses the source of head and neck pain, including tension, digestive problems or muscle spasm. But a tea made with Chinese chrysanthemum flowers will also help. For eyestrain headaches I often recommend a tea made with nourishing Tibetan goji berries.

This season, notices for flu shots seem to be in every pharmacy and even supermarkets. Here is a simple preventive for colds and flu: Gargle twice a day with a couple drops of Australian tea tree oil in a half-glass of warm water, and swab the inside of the nose with a Q-tip and tea tree oil.

There is talk of politicians waging a war on women. I say it is a war on men and women — on you and me. While personal prevention is the first shield against illness, we also must have easy access to affordable medical care in order to treat illnesses and avoid spreading them.

Tell the politicians by voting in November. But first, vote for yourself by practicing the art of self-defense.

About Letha Hadady

Letha Hadady is globally renowned for her expertise in traditional Asian and alternative health. The author of five books, including her latest “Naturally Pain Free,” Letha has made extensive appearances on TV, talk radio and the internet. Letha is an adjunct faculty member for New York Open Center, and The Renfield Center for Nursing Education, Beth Israel Medical Center in New York. She has led stress-management workshops and acted as a natural product consultant for Sony Entertainment Inc., Dreyfus, Ogilvy & Mather, and Consumer Eyes, Inc. in New York. Her website is

Morthland Calls on Governor to Take Action on Medicaid Reform PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Rep. Rich Morthland   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:12

Moline, IL… State Representative Rich Morthland (R-Cordova) is encouraging residents to join him by signing an online petition that calls on the Governor to implement, without delay, the bi-partisan Medicaid reform package enacted earlier this year. One of the key components of the SMART Act is increased scrutiny of Medicaid eligibility standards.

“Previous and current administrations have failed to take the necessary steps to remove people from the Medicaid program who may have enrolled when eligible, and then became ineligible for various reasons such as finding a job, an increased household income, or the aging out of a child,” explained Morthland. “By removing these individuals who no longer qualify from the rolls, it is estimated to save taxpayers hundreds of millions.”

The reform package contains tight timeframes for the procurement of an eligibility verification vendor. While the initial requirements have been met, it was revealed last week that the contracted vendor, Maximus Health Services, does not anticipate starting the reviews until January 2013.

“The entire Fiscal Year 13 budget framework relies on the timely and efficient implementation of the reforms. The selected vendor has previous experience that would allow for an expedited timeframe.  If eligibility verification is delayed a full six months into FY13, funding will be jeopardized to those in our community who truly need it.”

Morthland is encouraging residents to visit today and sign the petition urging Governor Quinn to end the delay.


In Iowa’s Interest: Taking Action to End Hunger PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Sen. Tom Harkin   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:11
By Senator Tom Harkin

Iowa is the world’s breadbasket, yet surprisingly, food insecurity is a problem that affects one out of every eight people living in our state.  And Iowa is not alone; according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture some 50 million people living in the U.S. face hunger.

September is Hunger Action Month –– designed to bring awareness to widespread hunger in America and a good time to volunteer your time in the local community to help end hunger.   The Food Bank of Iowa has teamed up with Feeding America for “30 Ways in 30 Days” – a calendar of ideas for one good deed a day to help solve this pressing problem.   Any one of the “30 Ways” is an opportunity for us to make a difference in the lives of Iowans who face hunger – including the one in five children across the state, at risk of not having enough to eat.

While all of these ideas are things we can do on our own, there are plenty of ways to get involved with a group as well.  Donating excess food from your community garden, or including your employer’s donation match form along with your contribution to your local pantry, food bank, or shelter are small actions that can go a long way toward helping your neighbors put food on their tables.  If you are a business owner, make sure to sign up your business to be a part of the 2012 Combat Hunger food drive November 15th and 16th in Des Moines.

You can start with simple things like wearing orange in honor of Hunger Action Month, reading a book about hunger to bring awareness to this national crisis, volunteering at your local shelter or soup kitchen, or trying to feed your entire family for a day on only$7 – the average daily food stamp benefit for a family.

As the former Chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, I have been fortunate enough to lead the efforts to enact the 2002 and 2008 farm bills. These bills and other initiatives expanded food support to millions of Americas by ensuring access to nutrition programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, school meals, child and adult food programs, and food assistance for disaster relief. I am extremely proud of what we have been able to accomplish, but our work is far from over.

As Iowans, we have a unique gift to come together and support each other. Hunger Action Month presents the perfect opportunity to do just that.  So look up your closest food bank and see how you can help, or go online to to check out the “30 Ways in 30 Days” calendar to help stop hunger now.

A PDF version of this article can be found here.

Braley Announces Nearly $100,000 to Combat Medicare Fraud in Iowa PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 14:08

Waterloo, IA – Today, Representative Bruce Braley (IA-01) announced that the Hawkeye Valley Area Agency on Aging, Inc. has been awarded $99,957 from the U.S. Health and Human Services’ Administration on Aging’s Senior Medical Patrol Capacity Building Grant. The agency is located in Waterloo.

“Protecting Iowa seniors from fraudulent claims and inaccurate information is important to ensuring Medicare funds are going to the right people, at the right amount,” Braley said. “These funds will go towards educating seniors and helping Iowans protect themselves from fraud.”

The grant will assist the agency in helping Iowa seniors combat Medicare fraud by recruiting and training retired professionals and other senior citizens about how to recognize and report instances or patterns of health care fraud. The knowledge helps them to protect themselves from the economic and health-related consequences of Medicare and Medicaid fraud, error and abuse.

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Braley's Plain Language in Health Insurance Act Goes into Effect Today PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Health, Medicine & Nutrition
Written by Amanda Bowman   
Tuesday, 25 September 2012 07:53

Waterloo, IA – Rep. Bruce Braley (IA-01) today announced that his “Plain Language in Health Insurance Act” is going into effect. The bill requires health insurers to write healthcare documents in simple, easy-to-understand language. The goal of the act is to lower costs and cut confusion for insurance consumers.

The Plain Language in Health Insurance Act was originally introduced on June 25, 2009, and was incorporated as part of the Affordable Care Act.

In the bill, publicly distributed material issued by health insurance providers must be written in plain language. As of today, health insurers are required to provide consumers with a standard template outlining benefits and costs in easy-to-understand language. For an example of the template that must be used by insurance companies, see

Documents written in plain language result in significant cost savings for organizations who implement the changes, and are easier for everyone, young and old, to understand.


“For the average person, trying to decipher an insurance company’s prescription drug formulary or shopping for health insurance in comparative brochures is incredibly confusing and difficult,” said Braley. “That is why providing clear, plain information to all of our citizens is important to help Iowans make smarter choices about their health insurance, as well as keep healthcare costs down for everyone. This is a common sense approach that is being implemented at a low-cost with high savings.”


Braley also wrote and introduced The Plain Writing Act, which was signed into law by President Obama in 2010. The law requires government agencies to write forms and other public documents in simple, easy-to-understand language. In July, Braley joined with the Center for Plain Language to unveil the first-ever “Plain Language Report Card” and continues to implement easy to understand writings across government agencies.

The Federal Plain Language Guidelines provide an outline for these best practices. According to the guidelines, plain language documents should, for example:

  • Use short, simple words
  • Use “you” and other pronouns to speak directly to readers
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs
  • Avoid legal, foreign, and technical jargon
  • Avoid double negatives

For a full description of the Federal Plain Language Guidelines, see

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