Alt med groups lobbying their way into health care coverage

Make no mistake. This is serious. If we let these ineffective treatments in, it just costs more for the rest of us. We need to be aware of this attempt

Alternative Medicine Providers Show Their Greedy Side – Forbes.

A growing lobby is Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM ) providers, who have discovered a new opportunity to extract even more money from patients than they do already. They want the government to force insurance providers to pay for quack treatments, regardless of whether or not the treatments work. Any attempt to require evidence, they argue, amounts to discrimination.

Discrimination? Yes! We must not allow the government to exclude health care providers just because those providers don’t cure anything. The CAMmers argument boils down to this: we have patients who want our services. The patients like us. In some cases, thanks to lobbying at the state level, we even have state-approved licenses. Therefore insurance companies must pay for our services.

To be specific, the CAMmers are lobbying furiously to try to protect a special clause in the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) that promises them a fertile new ground for making money from vulnerable patients.

The strategy is simple: require the government to fund any treatment that a patient wants, and dress this up as “patient choice.” Then if insurance companies resist paying for ineffective treatments, accuse them of discriminating against the poor, hapless “integrative medicine” providers.

Thus through a diabolical twist of illogic, if Obamacare doesn’t cover homeopathy, or naturopathy, or acupuncture, or magnetic energy healing, or any other so-called alternative therapy, it’s discrimination.

Make no mistake: this is all about greed. The CAM industry sees Obamacare as a chance to reap huge profits, by forcing insurance companies to pay for ineffective treatments, including many that are wildly implausible.

It is about greed but also because many of these practitioners and their patients BELIEVE this works. Telling emotional believable stories to Congress kind of works to sway them. I’m concerned. There must be a push to consider the SCIENCE-BASED evidence for these treatments. It’s only discrimination based on what isn’t nonsense. Don’t let them run over Congress. Many are already “licensed” in individual states which lends [baseless] credibility to their practice. They have taken little steps to bolster their reputation. That is something completely different from what the efficacy results say.

If anyone has specific recommendations about what we can do, please advise.

In Australia, there was a decision that taxpayers did not have to pay for this “spiritual healing”

Qld victim's $20K therapy bill rejected | News.com.au.

Tip: Krelnik

  7 comments for “Alt med groups lobbying their way into health care coverage

  1. August 28, 2013 at 9:07 AM

    What hope have you got, in a country where forty-six per cent of the population believe that mankind was created about ten thousand years ago?

  2. Chris Howard
    August 28, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    I think at this moment you could get a petition started, and pass it along to the various skeptic/consumer protection organizations, so that they can post the petition on their sites.

    Getting in touch with skeptic/consumer protection groups in other countries who have similar socialized medicine programs might be helpful, in order to see how they handle this sort of thing.

    Then find out who, in government, shares your concerns regarding the issue. Be able to show them that you have support from a lot of people. Tell them what the problem(s) is/are, and be sure to tell them what the solution is.

    Dr. Novella, Simon Singh, Brian Dunning, Dr.Hall, Dr. Barrett to name a few, would be excellent on this.

    Getting outside of the skept-o-sphere is key. So picking a spokesperson who is good under pressure, and can stay on message, and one that people like is important.

    Once you have a message repeat it ad nauseam, until the message “brand” is known to the audience/demographic on a reflexive level.

  3. Chris Howard
    August 28, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    Doing a VOD documentary is a, relatively, cheap way to get info out to the general public.

  4. Chris Howard
    August 28, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Sorry.

    One last thought. Neil deGrasse Tyson, a producer from PBS (Frontline or NOVA) and an exposé on CAM/ Alt. Med. that necessarily ties into the “Obamacare” debate.

    Because of the political controversy surrounding socialized medicine right now the time would be perfect to shed light on this, otherwise, ignored subject by the mainstream press.

    Cast it as a “wasted taxpayers money” piece, and the coverage is enormous. The human element is obvious, and sadly, we can find people who have been harmed by alt. med.

  5. ZombyWoof
    August 28, 2013 at 11:24 AM

    If they accept that nonsense, will they be accepting witch doctors too?

  6. Virginia
    August 28, 2013 at 12:42 PM

    the social security in France stopped paying for homeopatic treatments because of a double blind study that was published a few years ago that found that hoemopathy was not more efficient than placebo. The NHS in the UK did the same because that could not guarranty that the treatments would work but I think prince Charles managed to get that decision annuled. BUt I cannot remenber where the study was published.

  7. Sawdust Sam
    August 28, 2013 at 6:31 PM

    @Virginia
    You’re probably thinking of: House of Commons Science and Technology Committee: Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy – Fourth Report of Session 2009–10. ‘The Committee concluded-given that the existing scientific literature showed no good evidence of efficacy-that further clinical trials of homeopathy could not be justified.’
    Draft guidance based on this report, intended for the Department for Health’s website NHS Choices, was severely watered down following pressure from Charles Windsor’s charity Foundation for Integrated Medicine (now disbanded following a completely unrelated financial scandal) and other groups. There is no evidence that CW was involved personally although he does meet with the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, who is also said to be in favour of alternative medicine.
    That is the Secretary of State for Health.
    For Health.
    Quite rightly, there are rules about what can be written as comments and I can’t be trusted to be restrained, so look at Hunt’s entry in Wikipedia.
    In the UK, homeopathy is offered in some regions and not others; there is no state level directive and it is left to the discretion of local health authorities.

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