Sunday, July 5, 2009

Stop This Man (Before He Kills Again)

"Senator Tom Harkin is up to his old shenanigans again, trying at ever turn to do for the actual practice of quackery what he did for the research of quackery by creating the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) and what he still does to promote quackery by berating NCCAM for in essence being too scientific in not having validated enough of his cherished woo. In essence, Harkin has slipped a provision into the Senate version of the 600+ page health care reform bill that is currently taking shape in Congress that included funding for 'community wellness programs,' which, if science-based, would be a good thing, but which, when sponsored by a quackery supporter like Tom Harkin, is usually woo-speak for including all manner of unscientific 'alternative' medical modalities and dubious dietary advice, usually with supplements. As I've characterized it before, you can look at it as a 'bait and switch,' in which CAM advocates appropriate sensible, science-based modalities like diet and exercise as being 'alternative' (the bait) and then use that to argue that the woo they associate with such modalities (up to even pure woo like reiki or homeopathy) is effective (the switch).

Another provision that laid bare Harkin's true plans, however, was the one he also slipped into the bill that includes 'alternative' medicine practitioners as part of the bill's definition of the 'health care workforce.' That's part of the Trojan Horse aspect of what Harkin's trying to do. In the belly of a sturdy-looking offering lurks a whole lot of pseudoscience. It doesn't take too much consideration to realize that the reason for this provision is almost certainly to lay the groundwork for requiring the government to pay for 'alternative' medicine services, and, as the government goes, so too goes the private health insurance industry, at least when it comes to what health care services will be funded."

-- Orac, catching the bee pollen man - as he tries to sting the rest of us - on Respectful Insolence.

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