If the NC Legislature has its way on Monday, non-licensed health practitioners (naturopaths, homeopaths, herbalists, aromatherapists, some midwives and others) will become felons. Important information about the bill, including a link to the bill and talking points are below. Please contact Governor Purdue's office and urge her to veto it! Her contact info is below.
Here is a link to the bill: http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/BillLook
"I spoke to the Governor's office this morning. They said that after House approval it will be sent to the Governor the next day (Tuesday). The Governor will have 10 days to sign or veto. She sometimes acts quickly and sometimes not. I asked that she delay a decision on this so that people can weigh in, as this was a sleeper bill that flew under the radar until now."
Please get as many people as you can to call and email the Governor's constituent services office and urge for a veto. The contact info is:
1-800-662-7952 and firstname.lastname@example.org.
We really need a strong outcry. Please pass the word/social network as best as you can.
If you are up to making two or more calls, please contact your representative and urge them to vote against the bill. You can find them here:
Here are some talking points:
1. SB 31, a bill to clarify the penalty for the unauthorized practice of medicine, is a horrific bill with unintended consequences. If SB31 becomes law, it will increase healthcare costs for everybody because it will shut down the option consumers currently have to seek care from alternative healthcare providers whose services are paid for out of pocket. Most alternative care providers are not covered by insurance policies, and consumers who would proactively choose to pay for healthcare services out of pocket, will suddenly be forced to find MD's and make use of their insurance thereby raising costs for all. Alternative health care consumers actually provide a much needed pressure release on the rising costs of healthcare in NC. Shutting down their access to alternative choices in care will increase health care costs in NC, and this is bad for everybody.
2. Felony charges are completely unwarranted for professionals who have been legitimately helping North Carolinians for years. The significant unemployment it could cause simply due to fear of a felony charge is not included in the bill analysis.
3. There are already laws on the books to handle any injury caused by someone impersonating a medical professional. This bill is unnecessary and grows the government bureaucracy at a time when fiscal resources are already too thin.
4. Public testimony at the House sub-committee was not taken, which is outrageous, especially given that the room was packed even though the meeting was moved with no notice.
5. This bill was under the radar and the public didn't begin to become aware of it until its final committee meeting. Public upset is growing and it is imperative that the Governor consider our concerns.
6. Please add your own story of success with a practitioner.
Here's what Diana wrote:
Dear Governor Perdue,
North Carolina Legislative Bill 31 is an appalling attempt to criminalize health practitioners who do not fall into the mainstream categories.
At a time when health care costs are skyrocketing and countless people are underinsured and unable to pay exorbitant medical bills, we need to focus on treating the cause of illness rather than just the symptoms and on helping the body to heal itself. Naturopaths, homeopaths, and herbalists offer invaluable information in aiding people on the path to improved health.
There are, of course, less than reputable practitioners and providers in any field. There are certainly medical doctors who don't honor the Hippocratic Oath and other MDs who may be honorable but are simply incompetent. I've encountered a few through the years. Even though a minority may be less reputable in complementary health care fields as well, to penalize, indeed criminalize, alternative practitioners who genuinely assist people in maintaining or improving health is unfathomable in a time of economic hardship and health crises such as this.
There are laws to deal with injuries sustained by someone impersonating a medical doctor, and law suits are also a means of addressing criminally negligent or worse situations that arise in any health care related area—whether with traditional or complementary services. We don't need to criminalize those who are valuable members of the community doing work that truly helps people.
I am a Democrat who voted for you in the last election. I hope you will honor your commitment to the well-being of the people of this State by swiftly vetoing this bill.
Thank you for your consideration.
Lillian D. Henderson