There is No Such Thing as Alternative Medicine!
In the wake of the passing of the new U.S. Health Care bill, the news media and ScienceBlogs have exploded with commentary. While I’m not going to get into the politics of the situation (politics annoy the hell out of me), I do have one beef that needs to be aired.
One thing that keeps coming up over and over again is this (false) idea that there should be provisions for “alternative medicines” in the bill, because people should have a choice of whether to go to a Naturopathic or Homeopathic clinic for treatment.
Um, morons? There’s NO SUCH THING ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE! There’s only medicine, and things that are not medicine. And if it’s not medicine, then it’s not something that should be covered by health insurance, period.
This isn’t to say that I don’t believe in healthy eating. Obviously I’m a big fan of cooking food from scratch, using real ingredients, and carefully balancing your diet. I also believe in meditation as a method of reducing stress (which is a leading cause of chronic disease), regular exercise to keep you in good shape, and keeping a positive mental attitude. All of those things, though, are part of what health care is all about. They’re things that a doctor would recommend, and thus they’re a part of medical care.
On the other hand, drinking water with a single molecule of caffeine in it somewhere, or receiving Christian science prayer treatment, or taking vitamin D and drinking wheatgrass smoothies to get rid of your cancer …. that’s going to require some serious scientific (and not Christian scientific, real science please) studies behind it before I start considering it “medical” in any way.
Medicine is that which has been tested and proven to work. Everything else falls under the umbrella of “quackery until proven useful”. Unlike in the criminal justice system where everybody starts out innocent, in medicine you have to prove yourself BEFORE you are accepted. So there aren’t “alternative medicines”. There are “alternatives TO medicines”, but nobody should be encouraging or subsidizing those — people die because they’ve been deluded by quacks.
Stupid humans. At least I’m lucky enough to live in Canada, so this ridiculous bill and the even more ridiculous discussions surrounding it do not have to be at the forefront of my consciousness right now.