Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Healthcare Details

I was wondering the other day whether there was any push by advocates of complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM, which I hold in rather low esteem) to get unscientific health care products and services covered under any public plan.

Medicare/Medicaid won't cover CAM treatments, but the British NHS does, including outright quackery like homeopathy. There's obviously a strong disincentive to pay for ineffective treatments, but CAM quackery does have devoted and vocal supporters. And if there is one thing congress does poorly, it's protecting taxpayers from getting ripped off for the benefit of a business group.

I imagine that the public option would essentially be a ported version of Medicare, which would be fine. But then I read about Sen. Harkin's shenanigans, and began to worry again. Does anybody know if this is a topic of debate around either the senate or house bills?

This is a concern several orders of magnitude less important than the issue of whether or not we actually get real healthcare reform with a strong public option, and much less important than various other details in any bill that will shape how our nation receives healthcare. But as long as people are worrying about costs, it seemed a relevant concern. And there's a lot of room on the internet to worry about minor details, too.