The Practice of Integrative Medicine: A Legal and Operational Guide
- MH Cohen, M Ruggie, MS. Micozzi
- New York: Springer;
1 For the first time in 15 years, a major national health reform initiative is moving forward in the United States. Those of us who recall the events of 1993–1994, when the Clinton administration failed to pass its version of coverage for all, know that numerous pitfalls lie ahead with the potential to undermine the best-laid plans. But for those of us who have seen the widespread and needless suffering caused by the dominant role of money in American health care, President Barack Obama’s clear commitment to change gives much cause for optimism. Currently, tens of millions of uninsured Americans lack adequate access to quality health services and uncounted millions more delay or decline needed care for financial reasons. The men and women leading the health reform process, particularly at the interface of the executive and legislative branches of the federal government, appear to have learned from past failures. Also of considerable significance, the new president is a consensus builder with roots as a community organizer and is now applying his unprecedented grassroots-plus-online campaign model to the process of governance. Access to care and related budgetary issues tend to dominate the debate, but they comprise only one part of the equation. In the long run, financial issues may prove less important than questions about which services are being delivered to patients with newly increased access, as well as to those who already have access to health care but for whom it has failed to deliver health and wellness. Unless there are major changes in the health priorities of the nation, there will be no sustainable health care solutions. The stakes are extremely high. This commentary focuses on four areas: universal coverage; prevention and health promotion; chiropractic (I am a chiropractic educator who was in private practice for 26 years); and complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).