Alternative Medicine Fits Into New Health Care System; "We Should Do What Works," President Obama Says

President Barack Obama expressed his openness to including complementary and alternative modalities (CAM) in a U.S. health care system during his April 29 Town Hall meeting in Arnold, Missouri.

“We should do what works,” President Obama said. “I think it is pretty well documented through scientific studies that acupuncture, for example, can be very helpful in relieving certain things like migraines and other ailments – or at least as effective as more intrusive interventions.” The question eliciting the response was posed by a licensed acupuncturist and massage therapist who asked President Obama how alternative medicine would fit into his new health care system.

“I think one basic principle that we know is that the more we do on the prevention side, the more we can obtain serious savings down the road,” he added after commenting directly on acupuncture. President Obama also stressed the importance of changing the current logic of the health care system, which focuses only on reducing costs in the near-term.

“Reimbursement for health care provided by CAM practitioners not only would support the health of the public,” said AHPA President Michael McGuffin, “it represents a significant opportunity for products used and prescribed by CAM practitioners and a major step forward in the development of an innovative and wellness-based health care system.”

A complete transcript is available on the White House Web site:

The American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) is the only national trade association devoted to herbal issues. Representing the core of the botanical trade—comprised of the finest growers, processors, manufacturers and marketers of herbal products—our mission is to promote the responsible commerce of herbal products. AHPA committees generate self-regulations to ensure the highest level of quality with respect to the way herbal products are manufactured, labeled, and sold. Website:

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