July 2011: State Exchanges, Supplement Regulation and a New Naturopathic Nonprofit

By Karen Howard, Executive Director

Feds Release Proposed Regulation for State Exchange
HHS continues to move forward with implementation of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the health-care reform act) and just released a proposed regulation for creating state-based exchanges.  The proposed “framework” is designed to assist states in creating a new competitive market that allows individuals to choose from array of qualified private health insurance options.  Here is an example of how the primary care provider shortage continues to drive policy: 
“Consistent with the goals and policies of the Affordable Care Act in supporting primary care, in establishing provider networks that ensure broad access to care, we encourage States, Exchanges and health insurance issuers to consider broadly defining the types of providers that furnish primary care services (e.g., nurse practitioners).”
The AANP is following the definitional process for terms like “primary care” carefully, evaluating all the opportunities and potential obstacles and working with our states to ensure consumer access to naturopathic medicine.
DSHEA and the FDA
There is more going on in Washington, D.C., than debate over the debt limit and it involves the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA). On June 30, Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced S. 1310, the Dietary Supplement Labeling Act. The bill was written in response to his concerns regarding drinks and food that contain supplements that hold potential risks (aka Lazy Cakes, brownies laced with melatonin). Unfortunately, if enacted, the bill would go much farther and place enormous burden on the supplement industry – who stand in opposition to the bill. At the moment the bill is not moving. We are watching it closely and will keep you alerted. In addition, in early July, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the "Draft Guidance for Industry: Dietary Supplements: New Dietary Ingredient Notifications and Related Issues." The long awaited guidance (not a regulation and not yet enforceable) stunned the supplement industry as legal review begins to unearth the potential for the severe and adverse impact on the companies from which NDs and consumers purchase.  Click here to write your Senators and Representatives. Let them know that the FDA is overstepping its bounds and if left unattended will unfairly restrict consumer access to high quality products that have a significant impact on health status.   
New Naturopathic Nonprofit
The Naturopathic Medicine Foundation was officially incorporated in June.  This new non-profit will serve to educate the public on naturopathic medicine, funding public relations campaigns, and serving as go-to place for consumer information.  Founding Board members Lise Alschuler, ND, Michael Murray, ND, and Karen Howard intend to file for non-profit tax status before August 15.  Look for more information at the AANP Annual Meeting on Wednesday, August 17 at the Arizona Biltmore.