Alternative medicine and funding thereof-

One of the oldest “traditions” or practices in the world is now what is referred to alternative medicine. Although much of those practices are not mainstream, they are far from alternative. They have, however, been getting more and more negative feedback from the doctors and medicine heads and more and more use and support from the patients. Many doctors use acupuncture, homeopathy, or herbal medicine in their practices today. But shouldn’t insurance companies cover alternative medicine as a viable alternative to mainstream medicine? Yes! We are being denied these because the insurance companies know that Alt. Medicine can be as effective as “normal” medicine, but reduce the cost to us and the income to the insurance companies. Effective and much more cost-reducing methods are being hidden for their benefits. Alternative, or natural medicine, while not mainstream, is often as successful as traditional medicine, and should be covered by insurance companies.

Many prestigious companies have begun to use non-traditional medicine; indeed Harvard, or rather Harvard-Med has announced that they will develop a department of non-traditional medicine, despite the great deal of disapproval by many doctors. (Mazella 1) The success of that medicine, though, depends upon who observes or tests it.

    “…No, unfortunately if you look closely enough, most “objectiveresearch can prove or disprove “non-traditional” medicinal approaches depending on how you want to slant your approach. (The slant usually depends on who’s paying for it.)”

Says Dr. Jay Mazella of Gallagher Chiropractic Center in Leonardo, who wrote an article regarding the announcement that Harvard-Med was announcing their Department of “Non-traditional” medicine. One of the only reasons that “alternative” medicine is gaining more acceptance is because the consumers are spending more and more money on “alternative” practiconers and that angers the main stream medical people, who, in response, are starting to use “alternative” medicine so as to gain some “consumer support” again. (Mazella 2)

Not only the is the lack of confidence in some of modern medicine a problem, but it is also the feeling that people get from naturopaths vs. “traditional doctors.” People who go to doctors often come out feeling like a specimen. A growing number of people who have tried both “experiences” have described a “traditional” doctors office experience as “walking in, being examined, poked, and prodded, and then merely given a diagnosis, and a prescription and sent on their way.” (Monroe 2) This “method” of treatment is not nearly as appealing as the alternative, to many people. There is also a great deal less risk of possible negative side effects with most alternative medicines, as opposed to “traditional” medicines. (Monroe 3)

While all of the above is true, though, one must give a thought as to the opinions of the non-supporters of alternative medicine. Some thoughts about this are shown in an article entitled “Medicine Wars” which was featured in a magazine called the Skeptical Inquirer. After briefly talking about a study which showed that people who ate tofu more than 3 times a week showed a higher risk of long term impaired mental function, author Barry F. Seidman compares the pros and cons of eating tofu, to those of traditional, or alternative medicines.

    “..Is tofu the next wonder or will it shrink your brain in a way your psychologist never meant to? The Jekyll and Hyde story of tofu illustrates the tricky status of alternative (as well as complementary) medicine, whose remedies almost by definition have not been subject to the rigorous research and testing expected of mainstream medicine.” (Seidman 29)

And it would seem that many consumers and supporters of traditional medicine would agree with Seidman. Many people do indeed feel that alternative or non-traditional medicine has not been tested as rigorously and thoroughly as mainstream medicine. On that note, many traditional medicine company’s and mainstream medicine patients argue that one of many possible reasons for the lack of testing of AM’s (alternative medicines) and CM’s (complementary medicines) is that fact that AM promoters and merchants feel it unnecessary since they can generate a great deal of income selling AM’s/CM’s- untested and unregulated- as over-the-counter food supplements. (Seidman 29)

While the possibility of this is more and more unlikely as the FDA tightens the constraints on drug merchants, it is still a possibility. The most ideal thing to do would be for the consumer to check up on the merchant before making a purchase, as well as checking around to see if what they are buying is similar in other places, and has similar usage instructions. This will also help reduce the dangers to the consumer.

Overall alternative, non-traditional, or complementary (perhaps a new term which simply refers to medicine that is taken with or in addition to mainstream medicine) medicines are fairly effective, safe, and for the most part, not excessively costly to the average consumer for a basic treatment. There are still many exceptions to that though; many consumers or patients do need much more costly treatments or much higher doses and that can get expensive to them. This, however, is why people have medical insurance, and the main reason (or so they have said) behind the development of insurance companies- to cover the costs of medicine treatments, among many things, and what good are they to the consumers if they don’t cover whatever treatment the a person, or many people use? This is why insurance companies must pay for alternative treatments, or any treatments, whatever the type. This is the reason why they are paid hundreds of thousands of dollars each year by people who want to get covered, when they have something like medical treatments which add up to a great sum of money. This is what insurance companies were built for- customer satisfaction and assistance. If they are not doing this, than they have lied to the people and cheated families out of myriads of money over many, many years. After all the money that the insurance companies have received from the customers, it would only seem fair and reasonable for them to pay the cost of whatever treatment the customer uses; no matter what the type or cost. This is what the people have paid for, and this is what the insurance companies should pay for- lying to the consumers and not offering what was promised and agreed upon. This is considered theft, and many doubts to whether the insurance companies would like to be sued for fraud, or just pay out the costs of the treatments. One way or another, it will happen. All the consumers, doctors, insurance agents, and government people know that Alternative, or natural medicine, while not mainstream, is often as successful as traditional medicine, and should be covered by insurance companies.


  • Castleman, Michael

    Natures Cures Rodale Press, Inc.

    ©1996 M. Castleman
  • Mazella, Jay Dr.

    “Harvard Med Announces Department Of ‘Non-traditional’ Medicine”

  • Roach Monroe, Linda

    “A Closer Look At Alternative Medicine”

    Miami Herald May 23, 1993 Page 1-5
  • Seidman, Barry F.

    “Medicine Wars: Will Alternative And Mainstream Medicine Ever Be Friends?”

  • Skeptical Inquirer Jan/Feb 2001, pp. 28-35

Authors Note: I'm sorry if this looks like a school paper. This is a wre-write of a school paper, but also an experiment to see the Response of E2 Noders to an MLA standard-written paper. I hope it works for you.

(Also, if anyone could fix the code, I would be most appreciative. I've tried everything that I can think of, but nothing wants to work. Mostly on the last part about my sources. Thx.)