Wisconsin, The Next Health Freedom State?

By Rosanne Lindsay, Naturopath

There are eleven states in the nation that have a health freedom law on the books. These bipartisan laws, found in both blue states and red states, impact thousands of people whose rights are protected when it comes to accessing complimentary and alternative health practices and practitioners. Is your state one of them?

These states include: Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Rhode Island, and Maine. Approximately twenty additional states have introduced this type of legislation.

Recently, Madison, Wisconsin Capitol building was the site of a public hearing, held on January 7, 2020. If passed in both houses, the Complimentary and Alternative Healthcare Act that would allow complementary and alternative health care practitioners, such as homeopaths, herbalists, and nutritional consultants, to operate legally in the state of Wisconsin.

These practitioners offer non-medical care that consumers seek out for a natural option to improving health outcomes. Whether it is through a focus on diet, use of natural supplements, plants, fragrant essential oils, or homeopathic remedies, many practitioners work in conjunction with medical doctors to consider the individual as a whole.

This Assembly bill, AB546, authored by Rep. Mary Felzkowski (R-Irma) and Sen. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua), exempts unlicensed holistic practitioners from the Medical Practice Acts.  The January public hearing drew interest from both consumers and holistic practitioners, as well as the Medical Society, which opposed it.

In her testimony, Rep. Mary Felzkowski, who sought out alternative practitioners to heal from cancer said,

Wisconsinites are like people all over the United States. They see an enormous value in having access to this type of complementary health care that offers an opportunity to work on improving their health, or maybe even treat a chronic health condition, with more of a natural focus. Unfortunately, our current laws put these practitioners in the uneasy position of operating in our state with the fear of getting shut down.

Wisconsin statutes are currently written so broadly that these practitioners can be criminally charged for ‘practice of medicine or other medical occupation’ without a license, even though the services they offer are not medical. This bill lays out clear parameters for what the complementary health care practitioners cannot do to be able to continue to operate, such as acting as a health care professional without the applicable license, diagnosing disease, or puncturing the skin.

Sen. Thomas Tiffany added, “This bill is modeled after Minnesota and New Mexico laws where up-front disclosures are required, prohibited acts are clearly defined, and there is an enforcement mechanism allowing the Department of Safety and Professional Services to investigate violations. This bill prioritizes consumer protection and transparency for our constituents seeking complementary care.”

The Senate will need to hear the bill, with the hope that both houses will eventually pass the legislation. If successful, Wisconsin will the twelfth state with a health freedom law.

An out-of-control opioid epidemic has lead many to question the status quo of healthcare. People are hungry for gentle healing options. The State of Wisconsin was featured in the March 2000 issue of the Journal of Family Practice showing consumer demand for more (not less) alternative healing options.[1] Four reasons emerged as the basis for this: 1) Holism (whole person approach), 2) Empowerment, 3) Access, and 4) Legitimization.

Natural healing is already legitimized, as 40% of all consumers utilize alternative healthcare options and spend almost $35 billion annually out-of-pocket. In Wisconsin, 335,155 consumers spent an estimated $649 million on supplements. [2] For instance, Nature’s Sunshine Products, a natural supplement company in Wisconsin, has 3151 members and distributors.

Money speaks, but so do voices. Individuals who want the freedom to choose what they put into their bodies need to connect with their representatives. This is a critical time for Wisconsinites as politics often trumps common sense. Find your representative here: https://legis.wisconsin.gov/ to learn how you can get involved even if you are unable to travel to attend a future public hearing in person.

Rights to health and healing do not come from government. Health is a birthright and a personal responsibility. The body heals itself if given the right tools. However, the people must defend their rights to preserve them.

This legislation recognizes what is currently happening on the ground in the field of natural health. It offers accountability and transparency, as well as a regulatory framework for practitioners who do not comply with the law.

All healers, of different stripes, are meant to work cooperatively together, just as different political stripes work together. As reality illustrates, there is room for everyone and there is more than one way to do something safely and effectively.

For more information on how to get involved in your governmental process to create a health freedom law for your state, contact the Wisconsin Health Freedom Coalition, or Diane Miller, founder of the National Health Freedom Coalition.

Notes:

[1] Barlett, B., L. Marchad, J. Scheder, and D. Applebaum, Bridging the Gap Between Conventional and Alternative Medicine, Journal of Family Practice 49, no. 3 (March 4, 2000): 234-9; available at: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10735483 (accessed June 15, 2017).

[2] National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) The Use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine in the United States, National Institutes of Health (December 2008); available at: http://nccam.nih.gov/news/camstats/2007/camsurvey_fs1.htm  (accessed June 15, 2017).

You can contact  Rosanne Lindsay at rosanne.lindsay@gmail.com


Rosanne Lindsay is a writer, blogger, and Naturopathic healer. She is the author of two books, The Nature of Healing: Heal the Body, Heal the Planet, and her story of thyroid disease reversal: Free Your Voice, Heal Your Thyroid, Reverse Thyroid Disease Naturally. Find her at Nature of Healing on Facebook. Consult with Rosanne to create a custom healing plan via Skype or Zoom or phone. Contact her at natureofhealing.org. Subscribe to her blog for updates at https://www.natureofhealing.org/blog/ and visit her podcast o archives at Blogtalkradio, and on Thursdays at 5 pm CDT.

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