Medicare Should Cover Alternative Medicine

Target: U.S. Congress

Goal: Ensure Medicare and Medicaid cover alternative medicine including acupuncturists, massage therapists, naturopaths, homeopaths and oriental medicine practitioners.

Alternative medicine has been used for many centuries and has proven to be very effective in health management. Acupuncture, massage and chiropractic care help to relieve chronic pain, while naturopathic, homeopathic and oriental medicine heal a wide range of ailments. Private insurance plans sometimes cover alternative therapies, but the Federal government does not. In Section 1861(r) of the Social Security Act the term “physician” only means conventional medical providers and chiropractors when they need “to correct a subluxation”, which is a narrow category. Yet, according to data from the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine from 2011, 53% of people age 50 and older reported that they have used complementary and alternative medicine at some point in their lives, and 39% reported using it in the past year. It’s time for Congress to offer a choice to those Americans who rely on Medicare and Medicaid for their health care.

Alternative medicine looks at an individual’s health from a holistic point of view. This philosophy translates into more time spent with the patient to connect the dots and treat the root of the problem. Naturopathic physicians teach their patients how to listen to their bodies and help themselves. They are also well trained in nutrition, herbal therapy and massage. Herbal remedies are effective in treating colds, flues, even infections, and many people use them. Often alternative methods of medicine are cheaper than conventional ones. America also has a problem of over-medicating patients, leading to the highest rate in the world of death from bad interactions of drugs. Homeopathic and natural remedies avoid this problem and usually do not cause side effects. They are also cheaper compared to traditional drugs.

Since more and more people are turning to alternative medicine for all sorts of illnesses, it is time for Congress to take action and make appropriate changes in the laws to accommodate these needs. Alternative therapies are safe, effective and affordable.

By signing your name below, you will help persuade Congress to take action and make this important coverage available to those people who use Medicare or Medicaid for their healthcare needs.

 PETITION LETTER

Dear Members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives,

Even though alternative medicine is used by many Americans and some methods have proven effective in clinical trials, it is not covered under Medicare or Medicaid. Section 1861(r) of the Social Security Act excludes naturopathic physicians, acupuncturists, massage therapists, homeopaths and oriental medicine practitioners, and allows chiropractors only “to correct a subluxation”.

This is unfair to those who would choose alternative methods of healing, which are less invasive and usually do not have side effects nor cause allergic reactions. Alternative therapy is very effective and helps with a larger problem of over-medicating patients, which exists in the U.S.

I urge you to alter Section 1861(r) to include alternative medicine specialists because they save taxpayers’ money, treat a variety of conditions and in general have fewer side effects than conventional drugs.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: WealthOfHealth4 via Flickr

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One Comment

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