The Dark Side of Health Care Reform–Funding unproven quackery

Quite amazingly health reform, which has as one of it’s bases the use of evidence based therapies, will fund alternative remedies that can be, at best, explained as placebo medicine.

Acupuncturists, dietary-supplement makers and other alternative health practitioners, some of whose treatments are considered unproven by the medical establishment, would be brought more squarely into the mainstream of American medicine under the health legislation now before the Senate.

The legislation would allow doctors to incorporate alternative health providers in some treatment plans. It also includes language that some believe could require insurance companies to expand their coverage for alternative therapies, on which Americans now spend $34 billion a year.

This is of course what the “life extension” crew has been waiting for. There appears no proven basis for these remedies or their unsubstantiated wild claims of extending life. This is pure fantasy, not science.

These remedies cost money. They make people feel good that they are doing “something” but the benefit, if any, appears limited to that of a placebo. The question is how much should a health care system spend on placebos?

Medicynical note: The main concern here is the unproven supplements on which we spend billions. This would be added to our current expenditures and undermine any cost savings of health reform. Additionally, such remedies will on occasion delay truly effect therapy being employed.

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