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Salt Wars/Medicare Scams

Ralph welcomes the author of “Salt Wars,” Dr. Michael Jacobson, who explains how the food industry and a small group of scientists keep fighting government efforts to reduce dangerous levels of sodium in our food. Plus, fraud expert, Elliot Greenblott, tells us how we can protect ourselves from getting conned by Medicare scammers.

Michael Jacobson holds a PhD. in microbiology from MIT. He is well-known for his nutrition advocacy that helped eliminate artificial trans-fat from the food supply, expose the enormous calorie counts of movie theater popcorn and many restaurant foods and make Nutrition Facts mandatory on food packages. Dr. Jacobson is the author of Salt Wars: The Battle Over the Biggest Killer in the American Diet.


“If their blood pressure is typical of a young person, 120 over 80, they should cut back on salt, because 80 or 90 percent of us are going to develop high blood pressure by the time we get into our 70s or 80s, so it’s worth [cutting back on salt] for everybody.”

Dr. Michael Jacobson, author of Salt Wars: The Battle Over the Biggest Killer in the American Diet

Elliott Greenblott runs Vermont’s AARP’s Consumer Fraud Education program. Mr. Greenblott pens a regular Fraud Watch column for New England Newspapers’ publications, the Brattleboro Reformer, Bennington Banner, Manchester Journal and The Berkshire Eagle of Pittsfield, Mass, where he informs readers about how to protect themselves from the latest scams. He also tapes a regular public access show, “Mr. Scammer” on the same topic.


“We find there is underreporting of fraud in all areas. And it’s very troubling. There are numerous reasons. People feel ashamed if they’re a victim of fraud. They’re in denial quite often. And even the sense of fear that there will be some kind of reprisal. But one of the biggest issues in terms of not reporting fraud when it occurs in Medicare, is there’s a general attitude that it’s not my money. It’s not coming out of my pocket, so why should I worry about it?”

Elliott Greenblott, writer of Fraud Watch column

“There seems to be two levels of deception. One is the hardcore scams by fly-by-night companies and the other is the hollowing out of traditional Medicare by something called Medicare Advantage, which I call Medicare Disadvantage.”

Ralph Nader

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 351 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. NooN says:

    I love your idea to follow up as a TEAM with strengthening AARP with uPgrade Requests.
    I wish SICKO were watched by Groups Monthly.

    Regarding Salts also called Minerals or Electrolytes, I think they are necessary for the Body’s ELECTRICAL SYSTEM. A great suggestion was made to
    Gargle 2 minutes with 1 cup water, 1 T oil & 10
    Grains Natural Well Ground Sea Salt. Gargling should feed both the Brain & Body they the 4 Mucus Glands: Lacrimal, Parotid, sublingual & submaxillary. This is Rx done with the NIH 1975.

    I believe food grown in Mineral rich soil
    gives the food its Minerals.
    Since Salt is one of nature’s 3 natural preservatives, I think it is
    Being abused & does not distribute liquid in the body evenly. I believe Sat should be added just
    Before eating instead of while one is cooking.

  2. Bruce K. says:

    I watch a lot of cooking shows to get ideas of what and how to cook. I have never seen any cooking show that does not show the cooks putting tons of added salt and oil, usually olive oil into every recipe. They don’t measure it, they just pour it in their hands and cast it all over everything. The other thing they do is to drown everything in olive oil like it is mother’s milk. Why do these companies not consider that many if not most Americans are obese and have health issues often caused by diet, because we eat what is out there. And as mentioned restaurant food is a while other issue. What about the use of teflon pans? We have no idea what we are eating most of the time, and few rarely bring it to our attention.

    Looking at what this government and industry do to citizens you’d have to consider that they must be trying to kill as many people as possible … especially when you look at how the Novel CoronaVirus is being dealt with.

    I have gone years without even having salt in my kitchen at all, but I think I am still getting too much salt. Sometimes I buy canned foods for emergencies or times when I do not want to or cannot cook. The other day I looked at the labels of some foods that I occasionally buy. Campbell’s Chunky Soups try to make it sound like they have two servings in the can, but who splits a can of soup? But when they tout the nutrition in the can they add the value from both servings eaten together. The problem is that the low salt versions of Campbell’s soups taste so bland, and still have 900 mg sodium.

  3. Kathy Raine says:

    Great show, on salt. Glad you touched on the Standard American Diet, and how it is we’re eating so much salt – addiction to meat, dairy, refined carbs, junk food, eating out, etc., is killing us. Addiction is any substance you take into your body that shouldn’t be there, and then your body gets used to functioning with it. The lifestyle diseases are really your body’s attempt to “repair” the damage from inappropriate “food” choices, once our addictions have done overwhelming harm. We are a society of addicts; illness and infirmity is not the normal condition, even as we age – we need to embrace a vegan diet of mostly fruits and vegetables.

  4. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    Speaking of sea salt and pollutants, a study published a couple years ago found that 90% of food-additive sea salts contained microplastics:

  5. David Faubion says:

    We just learned that a single can of food ofte may contains more than our MDR of salt. That explains why after my having quit cans, restaurants, concessions and the like–I shake on the salt like it was oxygen molecules from heaven. Commercial foods had made me addicted to salt.

    So thank you Michael Jacobson PhD via The Ralph Nader Radio Hour. I will be mixing potassium chloride with salt at a 6:1 ration because our bodies need K six times to Na.

    Chloride with Na as NaCl is a digestive energizer. This quote from the web elaborates on that idea:
    Chloride is one of the most important electrolytes in the blood. It helps keep the amount of fluid inside and
    outside of your cells in balance. It also helps maintain proper blood volume, blood pressure, and pH of your body
    Therefore, Cl- may play as much a factor in our salt craving; yet the salt taste does balance the sweet and strong tastes so that is as much a player. Some foods that are high in K are sweeter such as fruits rather than bitter or strong like many greens. NA from dehydrated celery is tasty and balance but too costly a process.

    • David Faubion says:

      “David, this is Dr. Carl Sagan, speaking from somewhere in the cosmos. Dave, there is no such thing as an oxygen molecule, as you wrote in your post above. There are only–oxygen atoms until they bind with other atomic elements.

      “Wait, this just in from the web:

      Molecular oxygen (O2) is a diatomic molecule that is composed of two oxygen atoms held together by a
      covalent bond. Molecular oxygen is essential for life, as it is used for respiration by many organisms. It’s also
      essential for fossil fuel combustion. — Aug 29, 2017

      “Well, I float the cosmos corrected. Never assume the current state of science, or even four-year old findings for that matter. BTW, please, please, please take care of planet Earth and it lovely inhabitants.”–Dr. Carl Sagan cruising the heavens

  6. D Lenz says:

    Medicare Advantage, advertising, and consequence of later switching back to Supplemental Plans:

    First the BIGGEST issue and risk of consequence, (not sure I heard this mentioned, Ralph)… Switching back to a Supplemental Plan later when you might need serious coverage will likely cost higher premiums – you will be at the mercy of the insurance company and rate formulas.

    “Advantage” nomenclature is Medicare’s fault for allowing this biased naming as part of their institutional glossary.

    And the advertising is relentless and insidious… (backed by interests who want to abandon traditional Medicare?) (They aren’t selling pantyhose here Joe, you really sold out.)

  7. Tangent Zee says:

    The biggest thing I noticed in my research that no Medicare Advantage Plan available to me (including the ones marketed by AARP) do not transfer title of Durable Medical Equipment to the patient, ever. THIS IS NOT EASILY TO FIND! Durable Medical Equipment including wheelchairs, walker, rollators, hospital bed for the home, etc. Tradition Medicare will pay rent for 13 months (increased from 11) and then is yours but you never own these things in a Medicare Advantage scam – you pay rent until you die. I have found that AARP is mostly a marketing service to exploit elders does not represent the elderly but industry.


    In France and Italy every school children eats freshly cooked vegetable and fruits. In some small community village ,they even went far as fresh food from farms to the table , and mothers cooking, they have community mothers voluntary cooks, they don’t loose cultural and traditional they know what’s good for growing children nutritional needs. Unfortunately, our children’s are not only deprived and exposed to never ending commercials that catering what they should have inTelevisions, to every couple blocks stands the cheap meals providers McDonald’s . for so long as corporations are not giving up what’s profitable .. This reality has not been challenged for so long.Sure , all it takes commoners inventive idea, David Bollier, Ralf Nader, just to name few and small community gardeners is exceptional….. people are waking up from this slow drowsy sleep in USA . Thank you!