I’ve heard it said that, while “The White House Petition” in and of itself can accomplish nothing, it is still a positive development for the profession — that it stirs things in the right direction. I disagree —
1) Many people signing it, which includes practitioners and patients, don’t realize that it is meaningless. It increases hopes which are bound to be dashed, contributing to the destructive and already prevalent feeling that we’ve been wronged.
2) The petition reveals a profession which does not understand how the system works. It makes us look ignorant (because we are, mostly).
3) The profession should have other priorities. We still have six states without licensure. If we want to have a national week of action on something, why not that? (I’d say that’s a necessary precursor to being included in Medicare, for one thing.)
4) We are completely unprepared to do anything with the attention this creates. If the president called the AAAOM tomorrow and said, wow, we think this acupuncture thing is really interesting, how many practitioners are interested in becoming Medicare Providers, what answer would they get? If they asked what sort of support we had for our last bill, do you think saying we had 37 Representatives sign on would be impressive?
A petition might be a reasonable piece of a well-thought out plan to change something that had widespread support in the profession, and for which we were on the verge of success, but as an independent statement it is a distraction, a waste of energy, and misleads rather than informs. A triple threat!
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