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What Does Health Care Reform Mean for Alternative Medicine?

As someone who practices alternative medicine, the passage of the health care reform bill leaves me with many mixed feelings. On one hand, it addresses several issues that are very much needed, like preventing insurance companies from denying insurance to those with preexisting conditions. Yet, on the other hand, it misses the point on the most important issues and has one aspect that may actually be counterproductive for some people.

Before I go any further, I first want to clarify that I am a Democrat and I am in full support of President Obama. This is not a post to bash the President or the political party. I highly commend his efforts to make health care more affordable and accessible to all people and believe his heart is in the right place. He is probably doing the best he can with what he has to work with at the moment.

However, for those of us who practice alternative medicine, natural health, holistic health, etc., the passage of this bill will mean very little. Although I can see how this bill will bring a great deal of benefit to many people, that is not the case for me and it is not going to reduce the deficit as greatly as it could if other provisions were added.

Currently I use nutritional supplements, herbs, diet, organic foods and a variety of other alternative medicine treatment modalities when needed. None of which are covered by health insurance. When I need a physician, I often consult with specialists in different states by phone and work with nutritionists and other health care providers that are not covered by insurance. The lab tests these doctors use are usually not covered by insurance as well. Since all local physicians practice traditional medicine, they have nothing to offer me. Therefore, all my health care costs come out of my own pocket.

Which brings me to the point in the health care reform bill that I take issue with. Under the new health care bill, all Americans will be required to purchase health insurance or pay a fine. So, what this means for me is that not only will I have to continue to pay all my health care expenses myself, but now I will be forced to pay for health insurance that will be totally useless to me or pay a fine.

In either case, the passage of the health care reform bill will mean that I now have an additional financial burden. It doesn’t benefit me in any way — it actually hurts me. This really makes me angry. If the government wants to force me to have health insurance, then they should provide me with insurance that I can actually use, or give me the option to say no without penalizing me.

Although the passage of the health care reform bill is certainly a step in the right direction, it will not by any means fix our health care system. We still have a long way to go. To truly fix the health care system, health insurance needs to cover the treatment approaches that are actually effective and encourage health, such as nutritional supplements and other alternative treatment methods. Dependence on prescription drugs and continually removing body parts is not the road to health.

To fix the health care system we need to focus on the root causes of disease and poor health, which is diet and environmental toxins. We are a society that is nutritionally and environmentally illiterate and that is where all poor health begins.

In regard to healthy diet, we need to go way beyond displaying the calorie count and fat content. People need to understand that substances like sugar, caffeine, white flour, additives, preservatives, artificial flavorings and colors, artificial sweeteners, pesticides and even excessive amounts of complex carbohydrates should be removed from the diet and they need to consume adequate amounts of protein.

With respect to environmental toxins, society needs to understand that this goes way beyond air pollution or industrial contamination. The pesticides and herbicides in their home, bank, grocery store, school, local parks and highways and the chemicals in their cleaning supplies, personal care products, air fresheners, cologne, housing construction, cosmetics etc. used every day in their home need to be removed to see improved health.

The nation’s deficit could be significantly reduced if we educate people that it is their choices in food and their exposure to common every day chemicals that lead to deterioration in health. Until the public and the government recognize this fact, our health care system will continue to be overburdened by a sick society.

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