A proposed bill in New Mexico would grant medical licenses to fake doctors.
SB 135, sponsored by Democratic State Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino, would license naturopathic “doctors” to provide primary care to patients who may not realize they’re not seeing professionals who actually know what they’re doing.
Unlike real doctors, who accept science, naturopaths promote homeopathy, herbal “medicine,” and other forms of pseudoscience. They don’t go through as rigorous a training. They push therapies that have no basis in evidence. And the biggest concern is that patients who don’t know the difference may be led to believed they’re doing something to help their illnesses even though they’re receiving no medical benefit whatsoever.
So why the hell are politicians trying to give these pseudo-doctors more power?
The Center for Inquiry is trying to warn state senators against supporting this bill.
In a message to the Public Affairs Committee, CFI explained that naturopaths, who do not receive evidence-based medical training, subscribe to an array of baseless theories and practices that contradict fundamental scientific facts and principles, such as homeopathy, and that patients receiving these “alternative” treatments for serious ailments risk their health and even their lives.
“Despite this bill’s references to ‘naturopathic doctors,’ naturopaths are not physicians,” said Jason Lemieux, CFI’s Director of Government Affairs. “They do not receive serious medical training, they trade in bogus treatments like homeopathy, and they reject the evidence-based tenets of science. They should not be given similar medical authority as actual medical doctors.”
“Dangerous infectious diseases like the measles are making a frightening comeback in parts of the country where parents are falling for false anti-vaccine propaganda,” added Lemieux. “By legitimizing fake doctors with this bill, the Senate risks adding New Mexico to the list of states scrambling to contain these outbreaks. How is this in the best interest in the people of New Mexico?”
Even the senator who sponsored the bill has admitted he’s promoting nonsense:
“A lot of research has been done regarding the benefits of Naturopathic Medicine, which is especially relevant given the opioid crisis in our state and country,” said Sen. Ortiz y Pino. “The passage and signing into law of SB 135 would reduce healthcare costs through early prevention, give credibility to alternative therapies, and have a positive effect on the medical community and its patients in New Mexico as a whole.”
We don’t need to give credibility to fake medicine. While there would be a benefit to having more doctors out there for patients to see, that means a lot less when you realize some of those doctors are just wearing the uniform and have no real training. This bill would not have a “positive effect” on patients if they take bad advice and screw themselves over in the long run. You’re much better off seeing doctors who respect science and have the sort of training naturopaths aren’t required to get, even if it means waiting in line a bit longer.
There is no good reason to pass this bill. New Mexico would be much better off making medical school more affordable so that more students consider it a viable career path.
For what it’s worth, naturopaths are licensed in more than 20 states and territories. That’s 20 too many. New Mexico following in those footsteps would be a form of medical malpractice.
(Image via Shutterstock)