No. 118 (essentialsaltes) wrote,
No. 118

A bitter sugar pill to swallow

Thanks to Bob Park for mentioning this story: "Sen. Tom Harkin, the Iowa Democrat also known as Senator Bee Pollen, could not let the Health Reform Bill go through without a provision mandating that insurers reimburse alternative medicine providers."

From the LA Times article:

Insurers and some scientific watchdogs say the measure would undermine one of the central principles of the healthcare overhaul: that the system cut costs by eliminating medical treatments that aren't proven effective.
The leading champion of these measures is Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), chairman of the Senate Health Committee, who credits bee-pollen pills with curing his seasonal allergies. He is also the leading recipient in Congress of campaign donations from chiropractors and dietary-supplement makers.

Yay, we get to pay for therapeutic touch and moxibustion.

Now, I'm not against alternative medicine just because it's alternative. I'll happily consider anything that works. But how do we know whether something works? One of the supporters of alternative medicine mentions that the practices have been around for centuries. I would prefer some sort of double-blind testing, yet just as a reminder to everyone:

"Makers of supplements, which unlike pharmaceuticals are not subject to federal drug-testing standards before they are marketed, pushed for the pilot program. Its inclusion would enhance the credibility of supplements and, manufacturers say, introduce them to lower-income consumers."

We'll be paying for things that have not been tested for either safety or efficacy.

On the other hand, maybe we'll be able to save a lot of money by giving sick people bee pollen instead of an MRI.
Tags: anger, politics, science, skepticism

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