Posted by: Chris Maloney | June 5, 2013

Will Obamacare Mean Coverage For Alternative Medicine?

English: Kuhnegården, Alternative medicine cen...

English: Kuhnegården, Alternative medicine centre in the early 20th century. Hedemora, Sweden. Svenska: Kuhnegården, Hedemora, Sverige (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The short answer is: not without a fight.

 I won’t go into the ins and outs of the new legislation, because John Weeks does a masterful job of covering the subject at the Huffington Post. (Click here for John’s piece).

John’s analysis of the Washington State experience gives both the upcoming battles and the likely outcomes. 

At the end of the day, the issue for patients and practitioners is:  can alternative medicine survive being insured? Look at the family practitioner, once in charge of his or her own shop.  Now most are struggling with too many patients, and ever increasing demands on their time.  Entering the insurance model means acting within the insurance model.  One standard of care is one standard of care.  If M.D.s and D.O.s can do fifteen minute follow-ups, why should the insurance companies pay more for N.D.s? Once they set follow-up prices at fifteen minutes, how long before N.D.s start shortening their visits? 

Without clear examination of the trade-offs, I fear that alternative medicine will become insured under the existing rules that make alternative medicine necessary in the first place.  As N.D.s are added to hospital rosters and cut their visits to fifteen minutes (giving patients 34 seconds to speak before interrupting), a “new” alternative medicine will spring up for patients who want time and caring more than insurance coverage. 

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