Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Gluten-Free, Politically

It's a very good morning over at Gluten-Free NYC, filled with the promise of positive change—and not just because of enthusiasm over Barack Obama's victory. As the nation moves toward a fresh start and the possibility of more unity, it strikes GFNYC that a health policy that raises public awareness of celiac disease is something that both Democrats and Republicans can agree upon.

As you might recall, GFNYC supported Barack Obama but noted that both of the big party presidential tickets could offer improvements for people with celiac disease. Gluten Free Blog expressed a similar position in favor of Obama.

As John McCain and Sarah Palin return to their regular jobs as senator and governor, they can still follow through on their concern for "special needs" households, including those affected by celiac disease and associated conditions, including Down Syndrome and, possibly, autism as it is currently being diagnosed.

Palin in particular should also be aware that millions of Americans may still be undiagnosed with celiac disease, as her prominent supporter Jane Swift and her outspoken advocate Elisabeth Hasselbeck are known to have the condition. So perhaps the Anchorage GIG group can do something with that.

Closer to home, Kemp Hannon retained his seat in the New York State Senate. He has recognized that early screening for celiac disease is an idea worth consideration.

As far as the national government is concerned, GFNYC notes that Representative Nita Lowey, Senator James Inhofe, and Senator Ben Nelson all remain in office. They might not agree on much, but each has advocated on behalf of people with celiac disease.

Also remaining in office is Senator Hillary Clinton, an advocate of universal health care whose husband Bill recently talked up the value of "gluten-free" cassava.

Presiding over all of these politicians will be Barack Obama, a supporter of preventive medicine and universal health care for children who recognizes that some government programs are worth additional funding even during budgetary crises. GFNYC hopes that the FDA's ability to enforce food labeling accuracy will improve under his administration.

Celiac disease might not mean much to the general population in the great scheme of things. But sensible, progressive policies regarding celiac disease should find a place on the agenda as American leaders search for ways to build unity and consensus.

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