With Republican Congress bent on depriving 22 million Americans of medical insurance, this is a great time to provide our own, totally free and totally effective health insurance — a plant-based diet.

A study with 131,000 participants, in last year's Internal Medicine, found that consumption of animal protein is associated with higher risk of death. A couple dozen other massive studies in the past four decades had similar findings. None reached opposite conclusions.

According to National Institutes of Health, 1.4 million, or 68 percent, of identified U.S. deaths are attributed to heart disease, stroke, cancer, and diabetes, linked conclusively with consumption of animal products.

Cost of medical care was estimated by National Institutes of Health at $3 trillion in 2014, or $24,000 per household, and rising at 6.5 percent annually — nearly four times the rate of inflation. Incredibly, this amount rivals our national budget and represents 17.5 percent of our gross domestic product. Even so, it does not include the costs of lost productivity, disability, and premature death.

We have little control over the national cost of medical care. But, each of us has a great deal of control over our household’s $24,000 share every time we visit the grocery store.

Sherman Peters

Greenwood