Monday, August 10, 2009

Senator Tom Harkin Supporter Rants on his Complementary and Alternative Med (CAM) Proposal

As a strong supporter of Senator Harkin I cannot standby and allow him to put forth an irresponsible,
irrational and dangerous proposal. His proposal is basically the Inclusion of alternative medicine workers in the bill's definition of "health care workforce". This at first seems innocuous, however the consequences will be harmful to our system of evidence based medicine (EBM) and patients health.
The consequences of this is that the government and private insurance companies will be required to pay alternative medicine workers as if they have medical decrees. In other words someone with no education, no certified program, practicing a form of medicine that has no evidence it works and is safe must be reimbursed at the same rate as someone practicing EBM. Currently 34 billion dollars is being spent and not reimbursed for complementary medical care and an additional 34 Billion on over the counter supplements, vitamins, homeopathic (equals water) and naturopathy products. None of them, either the therapies or the products have a single paper showing the work and are safe when compared to placebo.
Senator Harkin claims this will save money. I ask him to explain how......Oh wait..... Maybe the deathers are right Harkins secret plan is that patients who use CAM will not use EBM, that have 150 years and continuing research that shows they work. Instead they will forgo the expensive chemotherapy and go to the Naturopathy for extract of apricot pits (long since proven not to work). This will save money but cost livesI know the Senator is upset. He pushed through and set up the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, which the taxpayer has spent 100's of millions of dollars to prove that alternative medicine techniques work. However, not a single trial has shown that a CAM technique or product is effective. This has upset the Senator and he feels that the Institute has purposely designed the studies so they would fail. In a statement he said, “One of the purposes of this center was to investigate and validate alternative approaches. Quite frankly, I must say publicly that it has fallen short. It think quite frankly that in this center and in the office previously before it, most of its focus has been on disproving things rather than seeking out and approving.” Senator you loaded the institute with people that are true believers and even they cannot prove (or approve) the unprovable when the magnifier of science is applied. Science does not and should never be established to 'validate' or 'approve' something but like Justice, should be blindfolded to the results. As you said during 'W's administration, 'we need to bring rationality back to science instead of politics or ideology'. Well hold a mirror up to yourself who is putting ideology before science who is upset if science doesn't meet your pre-conceived expectation. Except the results of the nearly 1one billion dollars 'your' institute spent ( some would say wasted, not me) and realize that when some CAM modality is shown to work it is then mainstream medicine. I can give you many examples.
There are many reasons on separation of powers and states rule that this should not be done. It removes States rights to license and certify practitioners of medicine and to control the practice of medicine within their state.
So Senator please remove this provision from the bill.
n.b. I apologize the program formatted this weirdly and split words inappropriately.

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