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Do Republicans or Democrats Most Want Prevention and Licensed CAM Practitioners in Covered Benefits? PDF Print E-mail
Written by John Weeks   

Do Republicans or Democrats Most Want Prevention and Licensed CAM Practitioners in Covered Benefits?

Summary: Two healthcare surveys of voters, in Iowa and Washington state, by the independent not-for-profit, CodeBlueNow! (CBN) offer a rare chance to look at differences in response by party affiliation on key prevention and complementary and integrative healthcare questions. CBN, which surveyed on a wide array of health reform topics, included one question on whether respondents agreed that acupuncturists, chiropractors, naturopathic physicians and other licensed practitioners should be in core, covered benefits. Another looked at whether health care should focus on prevention "rather than relying on high technology cures." Here are responses by party affiliation.
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for inclusion in a future Your Comments forum.

health reform, party affiliation, CAM, Republicans, Democrats, acupuncture, chiropractic
Sponsor of the surveys
Party affiliation has always been a fascinating aspect of the complementary and integrative medicine scene. In the US Senate, the field's best friends have been old-line liberal Tom Harkin, a Democrat from Iowa, and Orrin Hatch, a Republican from Utah. In the House, the former "CAM Caucus" was led by sometimes presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich, the progressive Ohio Democrat, and fundamentalist Christian Indiana Republican Dan Burton. Strange bedfellows indeed.

Yet we have had rare insight into how those who consider themselves Republicans or Democrats or Independents view key issues related to complementary, alternative and integrative health care. Thanks to the Seattle-based, national, not-for-profit and non-partisan health reform organization, CodeBlueNow!, we now  have a little insight into whether these voters agreed with this statement:
Basic health benefits should include coverage for any licensed health care professional, such as naturopathic  physicians, acupuncturists and chiropractors, as long as they are certified and licensed by the state and by their profession.
The results of the CodeBlueNow! survey in Washington, and the survey in Iowa, are at the CBN website. Since the surveys also asked individuals to identify their party affiliation, "cross-tabs" could be created which showed responses to this statement by party. Here are the cross-tabbed responses, as provided by Kathleen O'Connor, executive director of CodeBlueNow!
______________________________

Support of Coverage of CAM Practitioners

State
   Republicans
   Democrats
  Independents
  All
 
                   
Washington
  66%
  81%
  76%
  75%

Iowa
  60%
  76%
  72%
  68%

                   

Both surveys by Gilmore Research Group for CodeBlueNow!

______________________________

In both states, respondents of all affiliations were strongly supportive of inclusion. Even the category with the least agreement with the statement, the Republications of Iowa, are still at 60%. This is a high enough level of agreement to - were they a legislative body - overturn a veto. In both states, the pattern was as follows: the strongest agreement was from Democrats, followed by Independents, and then Republicans. The margin was 15% in Washington and 16% in Iowa.

Comment: A possible reason for the differential may be that a subset of Republican respondents was simply opposed to any government mandate - even if that meant that health insurance would cover a practitioner of their choice.

Interestingly, one also sees a differential in the extent to which respondents noted their level of agreement with trying to create a healthcare system which has a strong focus on prevention. Respondents were asked to say whether they agreed with the following statement:
Health care services should stress preventing disease rather than relying on high technology cures.
______________________________

Focus on Prevention Versus High-Tech Cures


State
   Republicans
   Democrats
  Independents
  All
 
                   
Washington
  58%
  77%
  67%
  68% 
Iowa
  65%
  74%
  70%
  69% 
                   

Both surveys by Gilmore Research Group for CodeBlueNow!

______________________________

Prevention would seem to be a bigger issue for Democrats, particularly in Washington state, where there was a hefty 19% differential. Anyone got any theories on this one?

On other questions
For those who wish to look at the breakouts on other questions, CodeBlueNow! separately commissioned the Gilmore Research Group to look at many key question, by party. Results are available by clicking here. Two examples:

  • Democrats were more interested in requiring financial accountability of health services providers than Republicans (85% Ds/63% Rs in WA, 81% Ds/69% Rs in IA).

  • CodeBlueNow! also found a huge gap between party adherents, as one might expect, in whether all citizens should have access to affordable health care (90% Ds/45% Rs in WA, 86% Ds/54% Rs in IA).

Disclosure: I am a member of the CBN board of directors.

Send your comments to johnweeks@theintegratorblog,com
for inclusion in a future Your Comments Forum.


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