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Will Quackery Be Legislated By The Senate? Better Call Your Senator

For those of you following the surprising healthcare reform bill mandate of Christian Science prayer as a medical treatment to be payed for by your taxes… I have good news. That was stricken from the merged legislation.

The bad news is that there is currently even more worrisome language in the S.3950 bill. Senator Tom Harkin has introduced language that would essentially require ineffective medical treatment systems like homeopathy to be paid for by government programs, and give people without legitimate medical training the right to become primary care physicians who would establish a “medical home” for patients.

How can such an anti-science position be justified? Harkin and supporters are actually promoting the idea as “non-discrimination” against complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners. The discrimination argument is foolish, especially in light of our new emphasis on discriminating between effective and ineffective treatments (comparative effectiveness research). This is not about unfair treatment of CAM, it’s about truth, scientific integrity, and stewardship of scarce resources. We do not want to use our taxes to pay for placebo medicine, fake cures, and snake oil. And we do not want to “solve” the primary care shortage by inviting unqualified individuals to practice medicine.

To prevent this strategy from becoming law, we should call our Senators immediately, and let them know that we are opposed to the following sections of S.3590 healthcare reform bill:

***

Defining health care workforce and professionals to including CAM practitioners:
Sec. 5101(i)(1) (see p. 1295, lines 2-23)
Sec. 5101(i)(2)(A) (see p. 1296, lines 1-16)
Mandating CAM practices and practitioner participation in “medical home” model:
Sec. 3502(b)(4) (see p. 1068, line 21, through p. 1069, line 5)
Sec. 3502(b)(6)(F) (see p. 1071, lines 15-17)
Sec. 3502(b)(6)(H) (see p. 1072, lines 1-6)

(Mis)using the term “allopathic”:

Sec. 3403(f)(3)(B)(i) (see p. 1038, line 15)
Sec. 775(c)(1)(B)(ii) (see p. 1322, line 6)
Prohibiting “discrimination” against CAM for insurance coverage:
Sec. 2706 (see p. 95, line 9, through p. 96, line 2)

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If I had a Senator to whom I could appeal (I live in DC), I would also do so!

All you physicians and nurses – please fight to maintain the integrity of our profession.


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