With healthcare reform underway, many Americans are wondering what this means. Current legislation has removed lifetime limits and annual limits on healthcare, banned dropping of coverage of patients and rejection of children based on a pre-existing conditions and increased the age of coverage for children under a parent’s plan. These first steps towards the final reform plan are monumental given the current state of health of Americans. Recently the Federal Centers for Disease Control reported that one in four adults under the age of 65 reported being uninsured. Of these individuals, half are over the poverty line and two of every five were living with a chronic condition such as diabetes, asthma or hypertension.
Last May, I had the opportunity to lobby on Capitol Hill and ask our congressmen and congresswomen to include Naturopathic Physicians under the newly proposed healthcare bill. A revision of verbiage would allow individuals covered under the newly proposed healthcare bill to seek care from a Naturopathic Physician. In a country where two of every five uninsured individuals are suffering from a chronic condition, this seems to be valid solution. In my opinion this would have two unique benefits: it would allow individuals access to a form of healthcare they may not have had access to before and it would provide a new outlet for managing chronic conditions. Furthermore, under the health care reform act insurers are now required to cover certain evidence based preventative care, an area in which Naturopathic Medicine has a foundation and is building evidence based research. I believe that in the long-term fight towards a healthier nation, this is where our energy should be focused. Prevention is the best medicine.