You may have read Dennis Kucinich's recommended diary about his amendment to the health care bill that would pave the way for states to implement single-payer health care.
This diary is not about that particular amendment, however. Instead, it's about another amendment he mentioned introducing.
The state single payer option was one of five major amendments which I obtained support to get included in HR3200. One amendment brings into standard coverage for the first time complementary and alternative medicine, (integrative medicine). (Emphasis added.)
Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?
Integrated, or complementary medicine, is a general recent term used to describe an approach to healthcare that involves both "traditional" medicine and alternative medicine with the notion that it's a more holistic approach.
Alternative medicine is itself a very broad category, used to describe a multitude of different techniques, from chiropractics and acupuncture to herbal medicine and homeopathy. Some of these fields, such as chiropractics, have gained a certain amount of recognition and acceptance in American culture. Some insurance companies will even cover visits to practitioners.
Other fields have not fared so well, especially when subjected to rigorous scientific scrutiny.
[R]esearchers affiliated with the Osher Center at the University of California, San Francisco, completed a study that showed that saw palmetto did not improve benign prostate hyperplasia, a noncancerous enlargement of the prostate gland. More than 2 million men in the U.S. take saw palmetto as an alternative to drugs. The results were published in The New England Journal of Medicine.
So what? That's a relatively benign problem, and there's something to be said for the placebo effect, right?
I guess that depends on whether we want to use public funds to pay for placebos. If the treatments which are going to receive public funding do not have to be scientifically tested, does that not open the system up to corruption and quackery?
The way I see it is this: we refer to scientific studies frequently around here. This is how we've established the existence of climate change, that abstinence-only education doesn't work, and that the world is more than 6000 years old.
Ignoring scientific rigor in this case is counter-productive. Even if it received only a small amount of public funds, money spent on some unconventional and unknown technique could become a new talking point about the big bad government's public health care incurring wasteful costs. Additionally, I'd like for us to stay consistent. When we don't have facts or evidence on our side anymore, what do we have?
I'm not advocating that these techniques be ended or anything, just that they're subjected to considerable scrutiny before funding them with any taxpayer dollars.