Healthcare is a basic human right, and all citizens should have access to healthcare, regardless of their ability to pay full market price. I believe that basic human needs such as water, energy, and healthcare should not be subject to profit-making or the unregulated world of “Free Market Capitalism”. If that is socialism, than I suppose I am a socialist when it comes to this matter. I also believe that people who take responsibility for maintaining and enhancing their health should be given incentives, such as reduced premiums / copays or even better, including these healthy habits as a covered medical insurance benefit that is available to everyone.
I work in a field (acupuncture and Chinese Herbal Medicine) that has become most people’s “last resort”, when I believe our work is better suited as a “first resort”: If we, as healthcare providers, must first pledge to do no harm, should we not proceed by offering the least invasive treatments first, before turning to the more risky options of surgery and drugs laden with potential side effects? If natural-based medicine and exercise therapies were covered insurance benefits, we would be able to reach many more people before they become so ill that they have no other options besides surgery and life-long drug therapies.
Let me also clarify that in some cases, surgery and life-saving drugs are a godsend, and the most appropriate treatment for the patient. My patients are sometimes shocked to hear me say “I think you should go for the hip replacement”, but I am committed to helping them choose medical solutions that work, and you can’t “cure” bone-on-bone hip degeneration with needles and herbs. Some of the most enthusiastic proponents of hip replacements that I know are themselves acupuncturists.
In sum, I feel that the type of care covered by insurance is as important as the issue of universal coverage. I urge my fellow healthcare professionals and legislative advocates to adopt this issue alongside the very noble and worthy goal of universal healthcare.
Jennika Wildau, L. Ac.
Aloha Wellness Clinic &
Aloha Annex Movement Studio
3400 Table Mesa Dr., Suite 204 & 205
Boulder, CO 80305