In recent years, many Americans have turned to alternative medicine after exhausting their options at the pharmacy. Herbal supplements, acupuncture, and chiropractic therapy have become nearly as popular as buying aspirin at the corner store. Unfortunately, these treatments often come under fire from state governments acting on a fear of the unknown rather than evaluations of the science.
One example here in the Badger State is the natural pain reliever kratom, which was recently banned by the Wisconsin Controlled Substance Board.
Despite its technical-sounding name, kratom is not some chemical cooked up in a laboratory. It is a plant that has been used as an herbal medicine in Southeast Asia for hundreds of years.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, a legal challenge to the provision of President Obama’s national healthcare law that subsidizes insurance premiums for those enrolled in federal health exchanges.
The justices considered whether the IRS acted outside its authority when it permitted subsidies to healthcare.gov enrollees in the 37 states that did not establish their own insurance exchanges.
The plaintiffs had a strong case, as the letter of the law states that subsidies are available only “through an Exchange established by the State.” The IRS defined a state exchange as a “State Exchange, regional Exchange, subsidiary Exchange, and Federally-facilitated Exchange,” taking the pressure off states to establish their own exchanges. The subsidies were designed to encourage the creation of state exchanges.
What should be done if the IRS’s actions are found to be illegal? One interesting post-Kingproposal comes from Galen Institute President Grace-Marie Turner and Economics21 Director Diana Furchtgott-Roth.
A Supreme Court ruling in favor of the plaintiffs would force Congress and President Obama to the negotiating table. Besides passing legislation that allows already-promised subsides to remain, this could be used as an opportunity to return flexibility and state control to health insurance markets.
As Turner and Furchtgott-Roth explain, “the 37 states without exchanges could receive a new, capped allotment from the federal government that we call Health Checks. States could use the allocation to provide immediate premium assistance to people affected by the court decision, and similar checks could be extended to others who would need insurance afterward.”
Even over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen can have serious side effects and health consequences, though. If you’d like to stick with the natural and time-tested home preventative for UTIs, cranberry juice, I recommend looking for the unsweetened variety at the health foods store. It’s kind of expensive, but that’s because it’s not diluted with cheap and sugary apple juice like “cranberry juice cocktail.” Try your unsweetened cranberry juice cut with some filtered or soda water and a spritz of lime (vodka is optional). And don’t skip seeing your doctor just because you’ve had a UTI before — many of these infections will still require treatment with antibiotics if they grow to the point that they’re symptomatic.
If you’d like to speak with or book Pamela or any of our other Advocates, please contact Young Voices now.
Young Voices Advocate Pamela Stubbart was published by Bustle writing about the dangers of driving while pregnant.
As the researchers are careful to add, this doesn’t mean that pregnant women shouldn’t drive (indeed, many of their male partners are statistically more dangerous drivers all the time). But, pregnant or not, always take precautions like getting enough sleep and wearing your seatbelt, because driving is actually one of the more (often unnoticeably) dangerous things we do every day.