Part Two on my post about "what is naturopathic medicine?" Part One can be read here. In this portion, I am going to briefly discuss (and debate) the cost of naturopathic medicine.
Most private health care plans cover naturopathic medicine; however public health care does not. This, in my opinion, is a good thing and it makes sense for a couple of reasons. The government only wants to pay for health care that is essential to life. Unfortunately, at this point in time, the government does not see preventative medicine (or improving-quality-of-life medicine) as essential. That's fine; I can understand that it would require a total upheaval of the medical system if they did. As of right now, allopathic medicine is covered because it is more emergency medicine. Sadly, many people abuse this emergency medicine system by running to the doctor any time they have cough or sniffle, and by not taking care of their health, leading to more serious health concerns. For this reason, the public health system is totally swamped. If naturopathic doctors were part of this system, they wouldn't be be able to do what they do best: take time with the patient. Legally, MDs in Ontario can only spend something ridiculous like eight minutes per patient visit (because the medical system is so burdened and there are not enough doctors, doctors have to see as many patients as they can in a run of a day). On average, naturopathic doctors spend at least one hour with each patient. They have to: in order to find the root cause, there has to be a lot of digging. Secondly, far too many illnesses are of mental emotional origin and thus the communication and counseling aspect of that hour with the doctor can be hugely beneficial in the patient's healing. To summarize: because NDs are not strictly governed, they are more free to structure their schedule and treatment plan according to the needs of the patient. And that my friends, is a great thing, even if it means paying out of pocket (or through private health insurance), for these services.
Note: I recognize that this turns naturopathic medicine into a service for those with money or careers with benefits. Certainly not the most ideal situation. I'm sure that one day it will change. But for now, naturopathic medicine lies amongst the many other health-promoting goods and services that cost money, such as gym memberships, massage therapy, organic produce, etc. As is the case for all of these, it is within reach of most people if only they would make it a higher priority and budget for it.