UBP blog

08/03/2009

Naturapathic Medicine: The AMA says it might not be safe or effective, should insurance cover it?

More and more Americans are going to naturopathic (i.e. natural and holistic) doctors like acupuncturists and mind-body healers. Yet, so many in the medical community (including the doctors of the AMA) continue to dismiss these doctors saying their treatments don’t work.

Despite what AMA doctors say, an influential group of U.S. Senators (led by Senator Tom Harkin and Barbara Mikulski) are giving naturopathic medicine a chance.

Harkin and Mikulski back an amendment that would bar health insurance carriers from “discriminating” against healthcare providers with licenses issued by their states. This amendment’s goal is to get alternative medicine covered by health plans.

All in favor see cost-savings:

Those who are in favor of this amendment say it could bring huge long-term health care cost-savings—tens of billions to be exact.

Savings could come from the following two things, among others:

  1. More people leaving behind costly prescription drugs in favor of alternative medicine
  2. More people seeing naturopathic doctors who help them make lifestyle changes (i.e. stress reduction, improved diet, vitamins and minerals) and in turn becoming healthier 

Naturopathic doctors do say that you should absolutely use prescription drugs and have surgery when it is medically necessary. However, for things such as neck and back pain, insomnia, head colds, anxiety and stress, there are new (and less costly) alternatives to popping a pill.

With all of this in mind (and what the medical experts say), do you think health insurance should cover both licensed alternative and regular medical treatments?

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