That is the only possible explanation for this question:
I don’t know if you saw JB’s comment over on the main page, about wishing someone would do a post on what things *shouldn’t* be covered in whatever reformed HC we end up with. (e.g.: chiro, vitamins, massage, etc.)
I would love to see you do a post on that, and throw it up on the FP.
Regular readers of Blinded Trials (may God bless and keep you) know that every so often my co-blogger and I stray into controversial territory. Maybe we dare to argue that circumcision is sometimes morally permissible. Maybe we have the temerity to suggest that vaccines are good for children. And so on and so forth. During the conversations that follow sometimes the comments get a wee bit heated when some group of passionate Internet denizens feels that their viewpoint has not been accorded proper respect. (It should be noted, however, that we have never been such fools as to question the greatness of Rush, doubtless because we take the time to was our vaginas.)
It seems that my old buddy Tod would like me to find the Web’s version of a gigantic hornet’s nest and go “poke-a, poke-a, poke-a.” And on the main page, no less. While I am going to have to politely demur on the latter suggestion, I will at least attend to the first bit. It is, after all, Friday the 13th.
However, I’m going to try to be sensible about my response. Again, regular readers know I take a dim view of woo. The easy answer would thus seem to be “no woo.” No homeopaths. No “applied kinesiology.” No reiki. Etc. Everyone should be free to see whatever shaman or witch doctor hangs out a shingle for whatever real or imagined ailment they wish. Something something free country, and all that. But nobody else should have to pay for it.
With that said, however, I’ll step back from the precipice and say I would be perfectly happy to chip in for anyone else’s naturopathy or chiropractic care on one condition. Any treatment or diagnostic testing costs to be covered by health insurance must withstand scrutiny under the scientific method. That’s it. Easy-peasy.
Now, I may be incredibly skeptical that the magic water homeopaths hawk or mystical tugging that applied kinesiologists perform will withstand said scrutiny. But a double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial should be easy enough to design for the former, and… well, OK. I have no idea how applied kinesiology could possibly be scientifically validated, but that’s not my problem, is it? If practitioners can publish a study in a legitimate, peer-reviewed journal demonstrating that their methods have the same kind of reliability as RAST tests (for example) then I’m happy to see their services paid for. I realize studies of that kind aren’t perfect, but science is easily the best method of collectively deciding what undergirds our shared reality. If the medications I prescribe and the tests I order have to prove their scientific bona fides, then so should everyone else’s. And if they confer legitimate benefit, who am I to deny payment just because their approach differs from mine?
I don’t know what entity should adjudicate with regard to what counts as a a legitimate study, or when a sufficient mass of evidence has accumulated to provide grounds for payment. Recommendations from government-sponsored panels are often fraught, even within the “traditional” medical community. I can’t imagine the immensely rancorous battles that will spring up around how to constitute and empower a body to confer or withhold scientific validation from “complementary or alternative” treatments. But either those who favor payment for services such as these agree to some kind of reasonable guidelines for establishing same, or they forgo payment from public or private insurers.