What is the Health Freedom Act and Why You Should Support It!
The Consumer Health Freedom Act, HB 842 will allow alternative health professionals the freedom to advertise and practice their occupation legally. It will give consumers the freedom to choose the alternative services and practitioners they prefer.
It is estimated that more than half of Americans use alternative products, many self-prescribed and often without guidance from skilled health professionals. This bill will open the door to alternative health care services provided by trained practitioners — services currently not offered by most medical doctors. Many experts believe broad access to alternative treatments will substantially reduce health care costs while improving the health of the population. Studies show that consumers pay for these services out of pocket.
Alternative treatments have been provided safely for centuries without substantial risk of harm to the public. Legalizing them formally will assure even safer and more professional provision of these services in our state. The bill requires that practitioners give consumers information about their education, professional training, and certification, and to refrain from certain acts and services, such as prescribing drugs or performing surgery, x-rays, etc.
North Carolinians seek out alternative products and services in increasing numbers. However currently very few alternative practitioners dare to practice openly in North Carolina because, under current law, they could be charged with “practicing medicine without a license” and risk criminal penalties. This is because the North Carolina medical licensing law has a very broad definition of what constitutes “the practice of medicine.”
The North Carolina medical practice act currently restricts to licensed physicians: “to prevent or diagnose, correct, prescribe for, administer to, or treat in any manner or by any means, methods, or devices any disease, illness, pain, wound, fracture, infirmity, defect, or abnormal physical or mental condition of any individual.” This excludes alternative professionals not licensed as medical doctors or other medical specialties.
It is easy to understand how existing law excludes alternative treatments in favor of conventional medicine. Most medical doctors do not offer homeopathy, naturopathy, herbal treatments, nutritional therapies or other natural, traditional and innovative therapies. The Consumer Health Freedom Act will make these services more widely available.
Eight other states already have health freedom laws — Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Rhode Island — and at least twenty-two other states have introduced similar bills. What can you do to help make North Carolina the ninth health freedom state?