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Medicine and Social JusticeEssays on the Distribution of Health Care$
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Rosamond Rhodes, Margaret Battin, and Anita Silvers

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199744206

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199744206.001.0001

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Limits of Science and Boundaries of Access

Limits of Science and Boundaries of Access

Alternative Health Care

(p.413) 34 Limits of Science and Boundaries of Access
Medicine and Social Justice

E. Haavi Morreim

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines whether complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) should be covered by health insurance. It first considers the philosophical and practical obstacles to science in medicine before discussing the (sometimes) unfounded bias that paints all alternative medicine as quackery and the (sometimes) unwarranted confidence that portrays all conventional medicine as science. In order to respond appropriately to the health-related needs of patients, the chapter argues that health plans must avoid a double standard by using the same criteria for evaluating conventional and alternative modalities. A just system should promote good care within prudent limits by avoiding waste and harm, and by requiring empirical substantiation of the value of all interventions, conventional as well as alternative ones.

Keywords:   complementary and alternative medicine, health insurance, quackery, conventional medicine, science, health plans, patients

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