Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Taxes for Ear Candles and Other Silly Crap

Note: The intent of this article is not meant to persuade one for or against a government, single-payer health care system. Rather, it is to address the specific application of tax dollars to medical methodologies that do not hold up to the rigors of scientific testing.

When I started this blog, I made a promise not to discuss politics unless it crosses the lines of promoting woo through legislation (note: I do not care if a politician believes in crap (for this blog), but I do care if they want to force taxpayers to pay or believe crap). Dennis Kucinich has given me just such a chance with a recent blog post on the Daily Kos. Specifically, this is to address the following comment:

"One amendment brings into standard coverage for the first time complementary and alternative medicine, (integrative medicine)."

This should make anyone who has an understanding of science shudder. What is wrong with this amendment? First, in order for something to be alternative to medicine means that it either has not been shown to be medically (i.e., scientifically) effective or has been disproven to be effective under numerous rigorous test. For instance, here are some examples:

  • Accupuncture has been shown to have no effect on back pain. This is also an example of the media being scientifically illiterate with such ridiculous headlines such as "Even fake accupuncture helps back pain."
  • Ear candles. Wow, be more ridiculous.
  • Homeopathy. This is may be my favorite medically-based pseudoscience. Want to cure a cold? Take an a small amount of onion (because both onion and a cold cause you to tear up and affect the mucus membranes in your nose), dilute it with water to the point that you would need a container the size of the solar system to have a realistic chance of retaining just a single molecule of the onion, then ingest or drink a small amount of the diluted solution. How do the practicioners of homeopathy justify their treatment when there is zero probability that I have ingested a single molecule of the onion? Water has memory, which is strengthend by shaking the "mixture" at each stage of dilution. No joke. They really want to throw away everything we know of chemistry. Further, the more you dilute something, supposedly it gets more powerful. Take that physics!

Essentially, this legislation not only allows for any treatment to be used, but the government will now pay for it! While we are at it, why not allow for people to get energy tax benefits because they claim their car is a perpetual motion machine? Is it not bad enough that the government has spent $2.5 billion researching CAM (complimentary and alternative medicine) only to find it does not work? The only thing worse than spending this amount of money is to then ignore the findings and pay for people to get ineffective treatment!

Anyway, I encourage people to write to their congressman or congress woman to voice their concerns about any legislation that uses tax dollars to administer disproven medical methodologies.

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