Friday, November 06, 2009

Michigan Wants to Make a Doctor's Note Mandatory for Acupuncture

bfp brought this to my attention:

I found out from my acupuncturist that the state of Michigan is considering requiring it’s citizens to get a doctor’s referral to go to an acupuncturists. So, in other words, rather than hearing from a friend that she went to acupuncture and that person deciding to give it a try too–Michigan wants to make it so that you have to go to a doctor first, and then, if the doctor is willing to actually give you the referral, you can go to the acupuncturist.
Many people who know about the history of midwives in the U.S. know why this is such an extraordinarily bad idea. But for those who don’t know that history–what this particular requirement would do is first and foremost, place an incredibly unfair burden on those people who don’t have health insurance. Those who are unable to afford a doctor would simply have yet another health alternative option removed from their already limited health arsenal.

As some of you know, I'm a big fan of the working class (or community) acupuncture model.  My husband was able to take advantage of it for about six weeks while we were living in Oakland, and though we have had to eliminate all such expenditures since our move, we plan to go back to weekly appointments at our local shop when we can.

And let me make this very clear: that was the first regular health care of any kind that my husband had gotten for well over a decade.  If we had needed to get a doctor's note first, he never would have been able to do it at all (and that's assuming the first doctor we went to would even refer us at all, because you know how some Western Medicine practitioners respond to "alternative" medicine).

If this goes through in Michigan, it will only be a matter of time before it gets picked up somewhere else, because you know how states like to feed off of these issues of "public health" that demonize the poor.  So please, if you support this health model and its goals, don't just sit back and be glad it's not your state considering making it inaccessible to the very people it was created to help, at least sign this petition and let them know why what they're doing is such a very bad idea.

For more info, please follow the link to bfp's post!!!