Senator Tom Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is a longtime supporter of nontraditional medicine, is at the forefront of the effort to win insurance coverage for such providers as part of national healthcare legislation.

“It’s time to end the discrimination against alternative healthcare practices,” Harkin said at a congressional hearing.

Harkin is the cosponsor of an amendment that says healthcare plans will not be allowed to “discriminate” against any healthcare provider who has a license issued by a state, an amendment Senate aides said was designed to provide coverage for alternative medicine. Backers of the amendment say it could save tens of billions of dollars in the long run by providing less expensive and better alternatives to drugs and surgery in a variety of cases. The amendment was adopted by a Senate committee writing health legislation, but details are still being negotiated.

…He emphasized that he supports using drugs and surgery when necessary, but he said it is time to adopt national policies that focus on the need for stress reduction.

–The Boston Globe, Washington, DC, July 24, 2009
www.boston.com

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