by Marion Nestle
Jan 8 2021

Weekend reading: wishes for the new year

I am a big fan of Howard Bauchner, the editor-in-chief of JAMA, who not only promotes science but also seems to have a lot of integrity.  I think it’s worth reading his new year’s wish list for medicine and science.

What concerns him, and what’s on his list applies just as well to food and nutrition.  He says, for example,

An increasingly important question is whether, in a country in which “profit” dominates, it will be possible to have a fair and equitable health care system. Has profit, self-interest, and greed come to dominate the landscape of US medicine? And as the Great Pandemic of 2020 has demonstrated, health care disparities remain a fundamental problem in the US health care system.

Here are some of the items on his wish list:

  • Respect for science, the individuals who pursue scientific discovery, and the federal agencies that support and conduct scientific research.
  • A comprehensive, coordinated, and effective national response to the COVID-19 pandemic, driven by science and evidence, and based on solid clinical and public health principles, including prevention and widespread vaccination.
  • A true national commitment to health care as a right and not a privilege.
  • A national debate about a single-payer (Medicare for All), universal health plan that includes private insurers, a public option, further expansion of Medicaid, and lowering the age of Medicare to 60 years.
  • Reducing administrative costs and eliminating barriers to health care access to ensure that millions of individuals can be insured without increasing overall health care costs.
  • A national campaign to identify and treat every individual with hypertension in the US.
  • That the US returns to a time of civility, healthy debate, and respect for the opinions of others.


And to his final comment—“This list is my hope for 2021 and beyond: a respect for science, scientists, and public health officials, healthy and civil debate, and a fundamental commitment that no individual in the US should be without health insurance”—I would add: a food system designed to prevent food insecurity and promote health for people and the environment.