As I hope I demonstrated in Legislative Alchemy: Naturopathy 2013, below, licensing “naturopathic doctors,” especially as primary care physicians, is a bad idea. Unfortunately, the only people usually interested in opposing their licensing efforts are medical doctors and their organizations. Of course, this allows naturopaths to pretend they are the victims of the evil, Big Pharma-controlled medical-industrial complex which kills and maims vast numbers of people every year. This distracts legislators from the real issues, such as whether they are qualified to do what they want to do (answer: no) and whether people really want an ND to provide their care (answer: very, very few).
I happen to think that legislators should be fully informed about things such as how naturopaths are educated, what they do in actual practice, and what thier beliefs about medical care are. So I created a website to inform them about these issues and to inform the public as well, so they too will be inspired to oppose naturopathic licensing. It also has suggestions for opposing naturopathic licensing as well as addtional sources of information and downloads of materials you can use. (I thank SBM’s Kimball Atwood, M.D., for permission to use some of the wonderful work he has done on naturopathy.)
The website is titled, most creatively, “Oppose Naturopathic Licensing!” And you can find it here: http://www.no-naturopaths.org/ If those who value science and the rational application of science to medical care don’t work to stop CAM provider licensing, the spread of pseudoscience and quackery will only increase. And that demeans all scientific endeavors.
A fresh season of state legislative sessions is upon us and with it comes the ubiquitous attempts by purveyors of so called “complementary and alternative medicine” (or “CAM”) to join the health care provider fraternity. Via the magic of legislative alchemy, state legislatures transform pseudoscientific diagnoses (e.g., “chronic yeast overgrowth”) and treatments (e.g., homeopathy) into faux, but legal, health care. Once the imprimatur of legitimacy is bestowed by the state in the form of a health care practice act tailored to their special brand of quackery, these newly licensed health care providers are free to foist their practices onto an unsuspecting public and charge them for the privilege. All of this is done under the false assumption that such legislation is necessary to protect the public health, safety and welfare.
We might well want to consider how far this whole thing is going. Will practitioners of CAM split into an ever-expanding number of CAM provider guilds, all with their own practice acts? First, chiropractors were the only CAM practitioners who managed to get themselves licensed in all 50 states. Then along came acupuncturists, who are now licensed to practice in over 40 states. A few states license homeopaths. Some states licensed naturopaths early on. Now the naturopaths, licensed in 16 states, are in a full court press to catch up and legitimize themselves with licenses to practice “naturopathic medicine.”
Why? Because, according to Lorilee Schoenback, ND, a Vermont practitioner and American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) Board member:
If the law [the Affordable Care Act, or ACA] is implemented as intended NDs in 16 states will immediately be covered by insurance.