09 March 2006


"The American Medical Association is fast degenerating into a political machine bent on throttling everything which stands in its way for obtaining medical supremacy. They propose to own and control every medical college in this country, all the State, municipal and university hospitals, and licensing boards in the United States."
President of the Institute of Homeopathy, 1914

Quackery—It’s the one word used by medical purists in dismissing natural medicine and its practitioners. It’s a dark word — a searing indictment. “You’re a fraud,” they say. A charlatan.

A quack.

Over the years thousands of practitioners of so -called alternative medicine have been driven from the practice unfairly and countless others and are on the brink of extinction.

There’s a medical monopoly in the United States…a virulent strain of bias infecting freedom of choice in healthcare. It’s been ongoing for a hundred years…this dirty little secret… and it exists here in every state in the Union. But a new battleground is forming in the Confederacy — and another controversy is brewing in the state of Florida. It’s one that health freedom advocates should be paying close attention to, as it’s another battle over medical freedom of choice — and whether we have the right to choose a Naturopathic practitioner in Florida.

A few weeks ago, two health freedom bills were introduced in the Florida State Senate and Florida House of Representatives. They aim to protect Naturopathy in the state at a time when Naturopaths are literally dying off.

There has not been a new Naturopathic Doctor licensed in the state since 1959. Dr. Michael Dappolonia, an 88-year-old Naturopathic Doctor in Orlando was one of the last to be licensed to practice. “In those days there were over 500 members of the organization back in the early 50s,” he told me a few weeks ago. “And today I’m sorry to say over 500 members at the time we’re down to four — four licensed naturopathic physicians in the state of Florida.”

Even though he is in his latter years as an Octogenarian, Dr. Dappolonia is still a vision of good health — a handsome and articulate man who has watched with horror as the Florida Medical Association and others have depleted his ranks. Until now, legislators in Florida have refused to challenge the medical hegemony enjoyed by conventionally trained doctors and the drug company lobbyists.

The history of the American Medical Association — and its’ statewide chapters — ooze monopoly. To understand why the two bills introduced in the Florida State Senate (SB 2678) and House of Representatives (HB 1261) are so important, a little history is important.

“The AMA in its so called wisdom decided after the Flexner Report in 1910 that it was time to eliminate all competition,” said Dr. Lad Santiago, a Naturopathic Doctor from South Carolina. “By the 1950s, they had almost eliminated all of the reform schools (Homeopathy, Eclectic Medicine, etc), and then they started focusing on naturopathy. Naturopathy presented the greatest threat.”

This claim is borne out by the Cato Institute Report of 1995 entitled, “The Medical Monopoly: Protecting Consumers Or Limiting Competition?” In this groundbreaking report, author Sue Blevins investigated the various methods employed by the AMA over the past century in order to eliminate the real competition from natural remedies. One of the most famous cases highlighted in the report involved the FDA and AMA conspiracy — which was proven in the Courts — to wipe our chiropractic doctors in the United States.

Between 1963 and 1974 the AMA operated a Committee on Quackery with an intent to "expose the charlatanism of chiropractic." The report details how the AMA urged members to lend "their full support to the continuing vigorous attack on medical quackery and to the education program on the cult of chiropractic," writes Blevins.

In 1976, four chiropractors filed an antitrust lawsuit against the AMA and other medical organizations, charging them with criminal conspiracy to destroy chiropractic. . .and in 1987 the AMA was found guilty of illegal conspiracy and in violation of U.S. antitrust laws. Yet sadly, restrictions on chiropractic scope of practice and reimbursement remain in place to this day.

These ruthless tactics are nearly identical to those being utilized by the AMA with Naturopathic medicine and its’ practitioners. Dr. Michael Dappolonia says things virtually changed overnight and many Naturopaths were caught completely unaware. “Kevin, to this day I still to this day don’t know why it happened,” he told me. “It was so quick.”

Dr. Santiago, a student of history knows why the pressure from the AMA became so intense. “Naturopathy was using all sorts of therapeutics for all possible maladies, for all illnesses and infirmities that were imaginable,” he said. “They were truly a competitor in the health care field.”

ALMOST EVERYONE AGREES THAT ACUTE MEDICAL CARE —or allopathic medicine as it’s called— can save your life. Conventional doctors employ the very best weapons in their arsenal to bring you back from a near death experience.

Naturopathic doctors, on the other hand, are trained as the primary care physicians of natural medicine — and are committed to finding the source of disease and emphasize health maintenance rather than suppressing symptoms with drugs.

Is there any rational reason why these two forms of medicine cannot coexist? After all, aren’t these Florida bills are being driven by consumers who want the freedom to choose their own brand of medicine? Why is it so difficult to hear the will of the people, who are tired of double-digit inflation on prescription drugs and the runaway cost of healthcare?

How can a system plunging the world into chaos not change? How can a nation with so much suffering and pain and agony and death…..with so many ruined lives and sad tales…NOT honor a system based on the pledge “First Do No Harm?”

Until now, there have been few real opportunities for the public to weigh in on such a critical issue. Just lobbyists, weaving insider deals—politics and business married at the hip. . .the few controlling the many — the same old song. But, according to Dr. Santiago, there is hope brimming in Florida — and it could impact Naturopaths nationwide. “Anything that is true will always remain true no matter how much you suppress it,” he said recently. “It will resurface. . .and it has re-emerged. The outcry for the therapeutic the options that Naturopathic medicine has to offer is greater today than it ever has been.”

It’s the way life is in this sad state of Democracy — begging legislators to give us what is rightfully ours. But this is your chance to shine, Florida. Please write, call, fax, or email the Florida State legislators and tell them to pass Florida House Bill 1261 and Senate Bill 2678.

It may be the last chance we have for decades to stand for what is right — and to give consumers what is so badly needed:

Freedom to choose the practitioner they wish — without the interference of big government and big business.