Away back in March, I predicted that if Obamacare passed, we citizens would eventually foot the bill for homeopathic treatments. This evidence for this forecast was inductive, in two parts.
The first was that rumors were had that homeopathic language was written into the bill (yes, in more ways than one). These vague insinuations could not then be pinned down, mostly because the bill was so long that our betters in Congress never bothered to read it to explain it to us.
The Senate had also previously meddled with the NIH to force it to pay attention to complimentary treatments. Complimentary in the sense of rarely efficacious and sometimes harmful. It created the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine and gave it loads of our money to dispense. Which—can you guess?—it did.
Because government has broached these subjects before, and because certain of our betters are inclined towards the idea, it is likely that the bureaucrats in charge of writing the rules and regulations originating from the new law will include avenues for complementary treatments—like acupuncture, chiropractic, and homeopathy.
Our second piece of evidence was that other countries with socialized medicine, upon creating their own small panels of experts to decide the medical fates of their countries—this is, after all, the definition of socialism—included mandatory payments for homeopathy.
From a purely financial point of view, this might not be as insane as it first sounds. As I wrote before:
Usually, [people who use complementary treatments] needn’t have gone to a physician anyway. They have colds, minor aches and pains, or other maladies that will self correct.
If complementary procedures were just as expensive as standard ones, insurance companies would surely not cover them. But since they are cheaper, actuaries can estimate how many people will use a placebo therapy that would have instead gone to a physician. Perhaps oddly, if the number that would opt for, say, homeopathy (if it were covered) is large, then the insurance company will cover homeopathic treatments. This saves them money.
When the government takes over medical care, they will have to legalize these kinds of actuarial calculations. It must decide what will be paid for and what won’t…
Therefore, if there is any rationality left in government, they will probably come to the same conclusions that insurance companies have, and they will fund homeopathic and other integrative therapies.
As proof of this, we have a sub-headline from Der Spiegel, “With budgets strained, politicians are questioning whether the alternative treatments should be covered by state insurance systems.” Even a politician can see that we can save lots of money by switching real pills for water.
A well known benefit of socialism is that politicians in that system are smarter than any of their subjects, including doctors and physicists. Take Germany for example:
Rainer Hess, the chairman of the Federal Joint Committee, a body in Germany that determines which medications will be covered by the state health care system, says that even though homeopathy hasn’t been scientifically proven, Germany’s government-subsidized health care system is nevertheless required to reimburse patients who seek homeopathic treatments. Hess describes the situation as “extremely dissatisfactory.” He says numerous efforts have been made to eliminate payment for visits to homeopaths, but that “influential politicians have always hindered these efforts.”
How about England? Here’s a headline from the Daily Mail: “More homeopathy on NHS as health cash is squeezed.” The story continues:
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley yesterday rejected calls from MPs on the Commons science committee to ban funding of the unproven treatment.
He effectively gave the green light for spending on homeopathy to go up, because of his plans for patients to be able to ‘shop around’ until they find a GP willing to prescribe complementary therapies.
This means more patients will have access to such treatments. There will be no restrictions on the advertising of homeopathic treatments, he added.
Taxpayers pay about £4million a year for homeopathy on the NHS.
Nobody argues homeopathy “works” in the sense of being biological active (it certainly has a placebo effect). Which is why England’s “Department of Health said that efficacy was not the only important factor when deciding whether scarce NHS resources should be spent on a treatment – patient choice was essential too.”
Well, there is no need to continue, is there? The evidence is plain. We will soon be paying for people’s nerves to be assuaged with vials of distilled water.