March 18, 2010

Health Reform Threatens Alternative Medicine

In an op-ed at, CFJ Executive Director Curt Levey teams up with Jim Turner, a progressive advocate for alternative medicine, to discuss how the impending healthcare legislation “will negatively impact holistic and natural medicine and limit the healthcare choices of the people who consume it.” They explain that
“Consumers of alternative medicine are used to health insurance plans that offer little or no coverage for holistic treatments and thus don’t meet their needs. That’s why many of them choose not to purchase health insurance. … [But under ObamaCare] the money [they] will be forced to spend subsidizing other people’s establishment healthcare, through premiums and higher taxes, is money [they] can no longer spend on holistic and natural medicine.”
To understand the breadth of the problem, consider that “visits to alternative practitioners, for treatments ranging from acupuncture and chiropractic to herbal remedies, outnumber all visits to primary care physicians by almost two to one,” according to a Journal of the AMA study. Turner and Levey note that although consumers of “indigenous healing traditions” such as Chinese medicine are particularly vulnerable to the negative impact of the legislation, “many of the American politicians who pay lip service to respect for racial and cultural differences appear ready to hand the feds the power to impose a one-size-fits-all healthcare solution.”

The authors conclude with this larger point:
“[E]very American deserves the right to make their own healthcare choices with their own healthcare dollars. No healthcare system will guarantee you access to every treatment you ever want – not an unregulated free market, not Medicare, not Medicaid, and certainly not ‘ObamaCare.’ But when you’re allowed the freedom to make your own choices about treatments and insurance plans, you can prioritize what access is most important to you.”


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