Bernie’s Medicare For All Act Of 2017 Would Even Cover Complementary And Integrative Medicine

Senator Bernie Sanders introduced his new Medicare for All Act in the U.S. Senate on Wednesday. Within the text of the bill, there is a provision covering complementary and integrative medicine. The National Institute of Health maintains the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, which states that “more than 30 percent of adults and about 12 percent of children—use health care approaches developed outside of mainstream Western, or conventional, medicine.” Bernie’s new Medicare for All Act would help improve access to these unconventional products and services.

“The 2012 NHIS showed that yoga, chiropractic and osteopathic manipulation, meditation, and massage therapy are among the most popular mind and body practices used by adults.”

Other practices that are considered complementary and integrative medicine that may be covered by Bernie Sanders’ new healthcare bill, which are recognized by the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health include acupuncture, relaxation techniques, tai chi, qi gong, healing touch, hypnotherapy, movement therapies, Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, and naturopathy.

Sanders’ bill would already cover conventional health services like inpatient and outpatient hospital care, inpatient prescription drugs, 24-hour-a-day emergency services, ambulatory services, primary services, preventative services, chronic disease management, prescription drugs, medical devices, biological products, mental health treatment, substance abuse treatment, laboratory services, diagnostic services, reproductive care, maternity care, newborn care, oral health services, audiology services, and vision services.

Sanders has been a long-time proponent of alternative medicine. In 1991, Sanders backed legislation that supported alternative health practices such as acupuncture and naturopathic remedies.

The Medicare for All Act of 2017 cover the complimentary, integrative practice of homeopathic medicine like those pictured here. [Image by Chamille White/Shutterstock]

According to the document on Sanders’ senate website, the text of the new bill introduced by Sanders on behalf of himself and Sens. Baldwin, Blumenthal, Booker, Franken, Gillibrand, Harris, Heinrich, Hirono, Leahy, Markey, Merkley, Schatz, Udall, Warren, and Whitehouse specifies that specific complementary and integrative medicine practices covered would be included in covered care, contingent on research or clinical evidence supporting their benefits to improved health.

According to the Mayo Clinic website, complementary and integrative medicine may help people with “cancer, persistent pain, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and many other conditions.”

The Medicare for All Act of 2017 specifies that, if passed, there will be no cost-sharing. That means there will be no deductibles, no co-insurance, and no co-pay fees, but there is one exception: If needed, there may be co-pay fees for prescription drugs and biological products, but the cap on these co-payments would be $200 per person, adjusted annually for inflation.

Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks at a news conference about the new Medicare for All bill, which includes a provision for complimentary and integrative medicine. [Image by Andrew Harnik/AP Images]

This summer, Sanders remarked that, second only to Wall Street, the pharmaceutical industry is “the most powerful political force in Washington.”

He said that one out of every five Americans under 64-years-old can not afford to buy the medication that they need and that America pays the highest prices in the world for these medications.

On September 13, Sanders’ Medicare for All Act of 2017 was referred to the Senate Finance committee.

If complimentary and integrative medicine were covered by insurance, would you be more likely to use it?

[Featured Image by By Rocketclips, Inc./Shutterstock]

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