Interview with Diane Miller, JD on Health Freedom
The transcript was published in The American Homeopath Vol 15, 2009
By Manfred Mueller, MA, DHM, RSHom (NA), CCH
Diane Miller, JD, is a Minnesota attorney and Legal and Public Policy Director of the acclaimed National Health Freedom Coalition (NHFC) and its sister organization, the National Health Freedom Action (NHFA). NHFC is a national information resource for health freedom decision-makers and leaders, to support them in their work of protecting access to healing options of all kinds.
Miller’s work involves state, national, and international health freedom issues, such as state safe harbor exemption laws for homeopaths, naturopaths, and herbalists, so that traditional practitioners will not be charged with the practice of medicine without a license, and expansion of state laws to allow medical professionals to practice holistic care without being disciplined.
March 9, 2009
MM: How do you feel about licensing so-called professional homeopaths?
DM: I think that state licensing of homeopaths would destroy the essence of the homeopathic profession.
MM: That’s interesting. Why do you think that?
DM: I think that homeopaths need to be leading the world in understanding energy, people and the Law of Similars. Homeopathy is by nature evolving, just as the human spirit and consciousness is evolving. Homeopathy is assisting us in our own understandings. If homeopathy can’t evolve, it will be harnessed and corralled by those that do not honor or understand energy and the breadth of the human experience, and homeopathy will lose its vitality and it will become impotent and die.
When you get into a governmental regulatory system you hand over a profession to a police power which enforces a particular type of education and standard of care. The government then not only regulates the rate at which you evolve, and how you evolve, but it can prohibit you from evolving.
You hand over, to the state, to the government, not to the culture…the job of figuring out what kind of education homeopaths should have; what kind of continuing education homeopaths should have; who should not be able to practice and who should be able to practice, depending on that education and exam system; and figuring out what homeopaths should be called. The government could set up a regulatory system that says just one type of education is acceptable to gain the privilege to practice homeopathy.
I view homeopaths as generally regarded as safe. Like many professions in our culture they should be protected as always being free to practice in the public domain. I have witnessed what they call “regulatory creep” for professions, where a legislature determines that a profession poses an imminent risk of harm to the public so they decide to regulate it and give the professionals the “privilege to practice.” But once you give up the presumption of innocence you give up the presumption that you are generally regarded as safe in the culture, and you claim that you need to be licensed or registered by a state government because of the public risk of harm to the culture (if you practice without that [licensure]). Once you give up that presumption, even if you start with a very limited regulatory model of registration, that regulation often evolves into licensure, the most restrictive type of regulation that we have, eliminating the ability of any others to practice that particular profession without a license. That is because once you design a privileged group, they gradually view themselves as superior, and then they try and restrict others from practicing. This evolution is often accomplished with the support of bureaucrats and legislators who see them as the government endorsed group who know what is best.
MM: That’s right.
DM: So, we’ve watched the massage bills go from permit to registration to, now, licensure, where they have been able to send undercover investigators in to practitioner sessions and shut down therapists. One in particular that was egregious in my opinion was the shutting down of a Reiki practitioner for practicing massage without a license. And another example of regulatory creep is a current bill in Wisconsin where the certified Dietitians are trying to get licensure and make it so that any person who gives any type of nutrition advice would have to be a licensed Dietitian. Dietitians have been certified there for a few years but without enforcement against other people. Now they believe they are superior in their trade and would like to be considered the gatekeepers of nutritional advice and are requesting licensure with enforcement provisions for those not licensed. Wisconsin also had a massage registration statute that was later converted to a licensed statute. The way the registration model turns into a regulatory licensing model is very normal in the regulatory bureaucracy and legislature. So holding on to the presumption of innocence like we do as a foundational principle in a safe harbor bill not only protects you from the government being the gatekeeper of your profession, but it also protects the nature of homeopathy, which is evolution.
MM: So, are you saying, when it comes to homeopathy, not all legislation is equal? Some homeopaths have claimed that we should be all-inclusive and be open to all possible legislative models for homeopathy.
DM: Wanting to have homeopathy protected under safe harbor laws and also wanting it to be regulated by registration, certification or licensure, depicts a misunderstanding, in my opinion, of why we regulate in the first place and the purpose of government regulation. The difference between a safe-harbor bill, which is an exemption from regulation, and other different kinds of regulation is that under a safe harbor law you are protecting the presumption that homeopathy is a fundamental right practiced in the public domain by all people and that homeopathy does not pose an imminent risk of harm to the public to the extent that it requires exclusivity. Whereas regulation puts the profession in the hands of the government to regulate as the government sees fit, because there is a need for regulation to protect the people. And occupational regulations often end up in the most restrictive format over time.
MM: Do you think licensure would make it easier to pass health freedom legislation, if it pre-exists?
DM: No, probably just the opposite. If that was true then the Arizona people would have gotten to be able to use the term “homeopathy” in their attempts to protect homeopaths under a safe harbor exemption this past session.
MM: Yes, you would think so…
DM: …but they didn’t. And in the past, when the Arizona homeopathic licensing laws were challenged because they restricted the practices of independent unlicensed homeopaths, the licensing advocates tried to put forth amendments that would have said that the lay homeopaths or professional independent homeopaths could not practice without a license unless they were within a certain number of feet of a licensed medical homeopathic doctor, or you had to be in the same room, and they all would need to be registered, etc. These drafts of how independent homeopaths would have been restricted were very disturbing to me.
Recently, during last session, an independent homeopath in Arizona, Vega Rosenberg, along with health freedom advocates, went forward to get a safe harbor exemption for homeopaths. However, the exemption did not attempt to take back the title of homeopath, but rather took back the ability to practice independently by exempting: “The practice of providing treatment of the spiritual vital force in accordance with Hahnemanian principles through the use of remedies that are diluted beyond the concentration of substances in drinking water and prepared in the manner described in the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia Of The United States.” (Arizona SB1236 Chapter 57 2008)
The term “homeopath” was prohibited in Arizona by anyone who isn’t a licensed medical doctor and homeopath. In the future I understand that health freedom activists plan to get back the title homeopath as well as pass a full safe harbor exemption bill for other practitioners as well. There are three states that require medical licensing for the practice of homeopathy. All three of those states require medical degrees before you become a homeopath. In Nevada for example, the homeopathic medical doctors submitted a bill to expand their authority which included registering or certifying at two different levels all the unlicensed practitioners, herbalists, naturopaths, nutritionists, homeopaths, device practitioners, everybody. And, that group wanted to mandate that all unlicensed people work under them!
MM: …like in a homeopathic medical assistant model…
DM: Right. So you would run the risk in that regulatory system of losing your health freedom stance, because all of a sudden you have got the government thinking that homeopaths are dangerous and need to be supervised. You are giving up the presumption of innocence, you lose your health freedom bill right off the bat, and then the turf battles begin. Like nurses, nurse midwives, and the nurse practitioners, the RNs and the LPNs, literally regulatory models of different degrees, and they are complicated. And the worst part about nurses is that they require doctor supervision or care contracts in so many instances when they are perfectly capable and sometimes more capable of making treatment plans.
Some people are not afraid of potential misuse of government. Some people think, okay, you just pass this law, no big deal, and everybody can do their thing and the government will take care of it all. Some people want the government to take care of them in ways that are not really the job of the government.
MM: That’s true…
DM: …and some people use government to get to where they want to go with money. They use government to get insurance coverage, they use government to get research grants, they use government to get institutional grants and they like working within that system. And the freedom of the evolutionary process of homeopaths would not be one of their considerations. Seeing homeopaths go into the government system, to me, would be against the nature of homeopathy, and there is absolutely no need for it. Homeopathy can stand on its own, and academia and institutes must be set up to promote the power of this magnificent profession.
There was a person whom I met recently and she was very concerned about licensure and a health freedom bill in her state. Someone said she was one of the homeopaths there. And we were talking, and I told her basically what I told you, I don’t want to see homeopathy under the government police powers. It’s just not the nature of homeopathy. At the end of that meeting she came up to me and said, I needed to hear what you had to say. I have never thought of that aspect and I appreciate it. I am grateful to you for bringing the conversation of homeopathy and health freedom to the forefront of the community.
This one man that I met with when I was in the UK three years ago, wanted to get all the homeopaths, you know, there are a lot of different kind of certificates you can get in the UK, for different kinds of education…
MM: Oh yes, I know…
DM: …and he wanted to get all of them together and set up a system by which homeopaths had to register with the government. So we had this long talk, and I said, you know, you are saying this is self-regulation. If it’s self-regulation, why are you even talking to the government? You are giving the government the power to self-regulate? That’s a conflict in terms!
MM: Yes, this notion came, I believe, from that double-talk document that was commissioned, I believe, by the Prince’s Foundation for Integrated Health. They recommended regulation from the very get-go by the government, and at the same time called it “self-regulation.”
DM: This man was one of the head thinkers of that…he was not afraid of abuse of power within bureaucracy…So, I was explaining to him that his would be only the first step of government involvement. So last year I see that the actual country of the UK was drafting legislation not only for homeopaths but also for herbalists. The draft that I reviewed was not self-regulation, and there was no exemption in it. And I shuddered and thought to myself, “We have to get some protective places where homeopaths can be professional and be free.”
MM: I know. We were working with Canada, in Ontario, and you know what happened there. After all our work to preserve the freedom to practice, homeopaths are now regulated there, but the government is totally ignoring them, and proceeding with the rest of the professions. They are not moving ahead with the transitional council and establishing a “College” for homeopaths, and in the meantime they are putting into place all kinds of regulations for the naturopathic profession that affect certain activities, such as the compounding of homeopathic medications — all rights we would like to secure also for the homeopaths there. If they [homeopaths] are going to be regulated they should at least have control over their medicines. We have gotten a letter in to the Ministry of Health, and we are hoping for a speedy response…
DM: The saddest part to me is, you look around the country and the world, and you see the regulatory systems becoming more police oriented and more restrictive. You see a lot of new laws being put in place where people can’t really do what they want to do or say what they want to say. And people who are highly educated are not resisting this shift.
MM: I know. Diane, from your experience, can you give me a few examples of when naturopathic physicians licensing bills were passed, how have they affected the health freedom bill in those states and did they prevent it?
DM: For example, I believe that there were naturopathic physicians opposing the health freedom bill in Washington but you should ask a homeopath in Seattle if they got a direct opposition letter or not, I am not sure about that. But because the naturopathic physicians bill is already there, some legislators don’t think it’s necessary to make sure that independent homeopaths and traditional naturopaths that aren’t licensed to practice are protected. They think, okay, we have got good credentialed people, so we’ve got everything covered.
MM: That’s right. So this is in direct contradiction to a published statement that has been made by some homeopaths…
DM: Well, political conversations are different per legislator. Some legislators are going to say, “No, we don’t want any uneducated people practicing; we don’t want a safe harbor health freedom bill.” Other legislators will say, “You already can practice, why don’t you just go practice and quit worrying about it.” Another legislator will say, “Well, everybody should be able to practice, and the licensing laws really do not shut you down, so just go practice, there is no problem.” You get all kinds of variations of understanding of the regulatory models vs. people in the public domain.
MM: Do you have any other examples of a state where that happened? Like, I know in Hawaii we had one homeopath who is a NASH member, certified homeopath in good standing, was attacked by the naturopathic physicians licensing board for “practicing naturopathy without a license.” We had to get involved to protect her and to get the naturopathic board to pull back, and she got away without having to hire a lawyer.
DM: Right. I remember that. I worked with her to educate her about the full health freedom bill option and introduced her to the Hawaii legislator who had introduced the bill the year before. Our organization got a call about four months ago from an attorney in Hawaii who wants to help get a health freedom bill passed. If there was a health freedom bill, the naturopathic board would not be able to charge a homeopath.
MM: That’s great. I hope it works.
DM: That would be so wonderful if someone could pass a health freedom bill in Hawaii. The other prosecution of a homeopath that we were aware of was one in Florida. There I understand they used a SWAT team! That was no small thing!
MM: Did he get shut down by a naturopathic board?
DM: I believe it was a “practice of medicine” case. There wasn’t a naturopathic board in Florida at the time and there still isn’t…there was just a law that said you couldn’t practice naturopathy. So a naturopath was shut down in Florida, too. Recently a new health freedom group is mobilizing in Florida to consider introducing a health freedom bill. And three naturopaths and one homeopath were shut down in the state of Washington.
MM: I wonder if you remember campaigns where the naturopathic physicians’ groups prevented or opposed health freedom bills.
DM: Oh yes. I was in Virginia weeks ago trying to pass a health freedom bill with a group. The naturopathic physicians were one of the greatest opponents.
MM: So Virginia is still trying to pass theirs…?
DM: Virginia’s health freedom bill was tabled. And then the naturopathic physician bill came up, and that was also tabled. And during the arguments for the naturopathic physician bill to be tabled the medical community stood up and said, “We don’t need this naturopathic physician bill, we need a safe harbor – health freedom bill. Let’s go back to the first one.”
MM: The medical people said that? That’s amazing.
DM: And you know what else? New Mexico just passed a safe harbor exemption bill and when I talked to Wynn Werner, because I had been tracking his progress on that bill for a couple of years, he said that the attorney for the medical board did all the explanation in favor of the health freedom bill in the health hearings
MM: That’s what I heard, too…
DM: And Montana just passed too; it just passed the full Senate. Now they are on the way to the House.
MM: That’s great news. In Colorado, I think a naturopathic bill was reintroduced and I think that’s one that was hostile to health freedom, or certainly…
DM: I have been very involved in the Colorado situation, and the NP bill as introduced was very bad when it was written. It had criminal penalties for anybody who practiced any alternative modalities and it had homeopaths listed. When we resisted, the sponsor of the bill called me the night before the first hearing. A Colorado health freedom leader had gone in to see her that day and told her what was going on and why was she doing this. They had given amendments to the NP’s two weeks before, and they had not been delivered to the author. So the health freedom leader gave them to the author the night before the hearing. By the next morning the NPs had drafted one sentence to exempt out all unlicensed people from their bill, but it was not well written and did not include all the amendments that they wanted. The author said that’s all that she would do. So the health freedom people decided, rather than trying to negotiate with them any further, that they would defeat the naturopathic physicians bill. The naturopathic physicians were completely not open to any further amendments.
DM: As I recall, the naturopathic physicians never used to oppose the health freedom bills. The safe harbor bills were so new, and the groups were amicable and of the position that you have yours and we have ours. But the health freedom people are the ones who have worked to defeat NP bills because the language of the NP bills attempts to prohibit unlicensed people from practicing. When the health freedom people weren’t supportive of the NP bills, an understandable turf war began. So in some states like Virginia, the naturopathic physicians are now aggressively opposing the health freedom bills because they see the health freedom community as their nemesis. I am not appreciated by some folks because I want traditional naturopaths to be able to practice.
The American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) was at a conference in Maryland and their representative and I were on the same panel for regulation of naturopaths discussion. I gave a Power Point presentation on Health Freedom and the concept of having a safe-harbor exemption law for those people who were doing things that are not dangerous. The AANP representative said, there should be no such thing as a traditional naturopath; and that anybody who calls themselves a naturopath should be licensed to practice as a primary care physician naturopathic doctor. I was sad to hear this. I think that the concept for many natural health groups that want to be exclusive is a lot about the title and then secondly about the practice.
MM: Absolutely. There is no question about that.
DM: Some want the title of naturopathy and naturopath to be exclusively theirs. This concept to me is offensive. I watch what is happening to naturopathy, and I get terrified that this would even start happening with the homeopaths. This past year the NPs introduced a bill in Minnesota that said as introduced that you may not practice naturopathy! Of course we fought it and amended it, but it was shocking at the time that such a bill was even introduced in a health freedom state.
MM: Yes. Well, that is the reason why we are talking to you, because we feel like there has to be a place for non-statutory homeopathy. We could run into the same situation with licensed homeopathic physicians, like we have in Arizona.
DM: Right. I think homeopaths need to understand what the government has to offer them and how it can negatively impact the profession. There are some real concerns: government intervention in homeopathy could destroy the freedom and nature of homeopathy; regulatory creep is a common occurrence within government; the turf wars in other professions are severe and have hurt the professions.
MM: You see, the NASH leadership has unanimously taken the position that health freedom legislation is the most appropriate course to pursue for NASH. We made a strong point that NASH represents the unlicensed, non-statutory homeopath, so we really don’t have any interest in pursuing licensing.
But, of course, there are other homeopathic organizations, like the naturopathic physicians, the MDs, the homeopathic nurses, and then there are those who seem have their own agendas, some of them educators who run schools.
Also it may be of interest that NASH has the largest membership of all homeopathic professional organizations in the US with over 180 registered, certified members and nearly 500 members total, with most of them practicing outside of the government domain.
DM: I support you in trying to generate some ideas about the title to use for homeopaths who are not otherwise in a licensed profession like nurses and doctors, since there are nurses, acupuncturists, chiropractors and medical doctors that all use homeopathy.
MM: Yes, we are working on that. The number of licensed health practitioners in the US that have some form of certification in homeopathy is relatively small. The largest single body of homeopathic practitioners that are certified by a homeopathic certification organization is NASH registered homeopaths.
DM: …licensing boards under government will need to allow occupations to practice homeopathy, if homeopathy is under their scope of practice or within their standard of care…It first of all would have to be under their scope of practice. In Minnesota before our health freedom bill passed, nurses along with most other licensed professions could not do homeopathy, because it was outside their scope of practice.
MM: …because they can’t prescribe.
DM: Yes. So we took this into consideration and crafted a creative solution. So now they can practice homeopathy under the Minnesota health freedom law, as long as they keep their nursing practice separate from their homeopathic practice and do not hold themselves out as a nurse to their homeopathic clients. And in some states chiropractors can do homeopathy if it is within their standard of care. Many chiropractors can do alternative medicine. Acupuncturists — some of them can do homeopathy if it is in their statutes. This is how it starts. Okay…I want to do this but I can’t do this because the state won’t let me, so let me go ask the state if I can do this. And then, what is the education that the state is going to require? Oh, the state is going to require a specific homeopathic exam, and if you don’t pass that then you can’t practice. And that’s where the problem starts, because the state has the power to eliminate other practitioners that don’t have the endorsed education of the state.
It would be good if homeopaths could understand that the premise of regulating an occupation is that it is presumed to pose an imminent risk of harm to the public if it is not regulated. Once you claim that it needs to be regulated, everything breaks loose. Bureaucrats can say, oh, we’ve had a really bad case of a homeopath giving some remedy that we have never heard of to a consumer…yah, we‘ve got to get rid of that guy because he does not have the right kind of education; he was doing something weird that he learned in France. So you have got the state then…
MM: …you gave the state an opportunity to come in and regulate.
DM: Right, I mean that’s what they do, and they are good at their jobs. They investigate their licensees when they are not acting in a manner that they think is within their legal expectations.
MM: We took a strong stand against the HPRAC proposal for regulation in Ontario a couple years ago. The whole thing started with one group petitioning the government to regulate them. HPRAC was a government-hired organization that looked at the various professions, including homeopathy, and they claimed that homeopathy was dangerous and risky, and they used this, along with the pending regulation in England, to recommend government regulation of Ontario homeopaths. I took my entire vacation to study the material. We got a response in by the deadline elaborating in detail on all the sources they had quoted. I actually looked them up, and found that none of the risks they cited in their statement were real risks. They were product risks, not practice risks. There was no evidence of risk of harm from the practice of homeopathy! Yet regulation happened anyway. This could happen here in the US if some of the homeopathic community, without understanding the whole situation, went to the government and told them they wanted to be regulated.
DM: I think the best way to protect homeopathy is to promote homeopathy in the public eye and do a campaign on the safety of homeopathy and homeopaths and the benefit of the safe harbor model instead of always being on the defensive. The power that I have seen and that I believe in is that we need to say what we want in as many forums as possible, and then describe it and give the reasons for what we want. Because if we say what we don’t want, the universe doesn’t understand the word don’t and we just end up doing the PR for all kinds of bad stuff.
Healthseekers need to know how great the option of homeopathy is, how great the schools in Minnesota and California are, and how great it is that these people are practicing all these different types of methods of homeopathy. Healthseekers need to know that homeopaths give out client disclosure where they describe where they got their training. Healthseekers need to know that homeopaths get their training from around the world in prestigious forums. Healthseekers need to know that clients are happy and isn’t this wonderful. I know homeopaths that are swamped all the time and have waiting lists.There are many homeopaths in Minnesota, and there is a need for more, and we should do the safe harbor legislation everywhere. The success of the safe harbor model for homeopathy allows for collaboration with healthcare providers without losing important freedom of innovation. Try to figure out a way…
MM: To sell health freedom…
DM: Yes, really, and to sell homeopathy as free spirited and strong, able to be promoted in its own right, in its own educational stance, academic stance and clinical stance without leaning on government for intervention. And I think the big key that I’ve always wanted to test out is that it would be a good use of our time to go into a safe harbor state and set up a big clinic for homeopathy and in conjunction with another type of health clinic or a wellness clinic or an educational institution. We need to have pilot programs so we can figure out how we can really do it. We need to figure out how to make that model happen, where we can expand the access of homeopathy. There will be difficult questions as you begin to find ways to interface and provide care, even emergency care.
MM: Well, maybe we’ll do it in North Carolina!
DM: I like that idea!
MM: I’ve actually worked with that model in mind with the Program on Integrative Medicine at UNC, at Chapel Hill Memorial Hospital…
DM: I remember that. What do you think the chance of the North Carolina health freedom bill passing is?
MM: I think there is a chance. I’m especially encouraged by some changes recently, and it looks like even medical societies are changing their tune on the issue of health freedom.
DM: Oh, wouldn’t that be great!
MM: I don’t know if that is exactly the case in North Carolina, but I do know that the enthusiasm for our bill is still kept alive by some people in the legislature.
DM: I don’t know, I guess the question that you asked about regulation, it’s hard to address. I have more mistrust of regulation for natural health practitioners who are generally regarded as safe than I do of medical professionals. I’m glad that the MDs are in a regulated system, but the system is in dire need of renovation to include expanded health care practices that are being sought out more and more. I wish that they had more support in that system for doctors doing gentler and holistic things with people. Watching the cases of medical doctors getting shut down for not giving Ritalin or for doing chelation or for not recommending chemotherapy, that system is geared towards the evidenced based biomedical pharmaceutical model. It does not have the capacity to honor the choices of real people. It also is not keeping people safe. Many legislators cater to conventional medicine interests. There are not enough natural health legislators. For example, they’re still not able to ban mercury in vaccines even though everyone knows that it is a neurotoxin. The legislators, the majority, are allopathic based. I hate to see homeopathy go into an attorney general’s office and board of homeopathy and a regulatory system where they can shut homeopaths down, because they are doing something somebody else thinks is weird. That would be so sad.
MM: Yes, of course.
DM: Some groups who promote regulation want to use it for financial gain. They want to say they are licensed, so they can get Medicaid, Medicare, educational grants, insurance coverage, more clients, hospital privileges, all those things…
MM: They want to be on easy street, and turn everybody else in to the syndicate…
DM: …If it does come to that, even if they don’t believe that my opinion of “it’s bad for homeopathy to be under government authority,” if they are going to go in that domain, you may not have the votes to stop that…
MM: Oh, they’re already ready to go. They are pushing for a vote. Most don’t understand health freedom nor have they taken the time to understand why someone would not want to be licensed by government.
Diane, you do speak with authority and experience, and you do have the overview when it comes to legislation. Legislation for licensing is what many people now are talking about and most of them have no experience.
DM: Well they may have never had the experience of being shut down under a licensing board either, or seeing a colleague get shut down that was licensed, for saying something that is outside of the government endorsed standards.
MM: No they haven’t, and that’s a good way of starting the conversation, and boy that’s a scary thing.
DM: Yes, that’s a scary thing.
DM: I heard that there was a bill successfully moving to repeal the naturopathic physicians license board in Idaho last session!
DM: It’s interesting that a whole body of the legislature would agree that they wanted to repeal a licensing bill. When you license something dangerous like the doctors, you seldom see a repeal, but when you license something natural and people practice it in their homes and in the public domain, you are asking for a revolution basically. Because the common people don’t want monopolies of things they want to practice or use themselves. And so there’s a big difference between regulating something that’s natural and regulating surgery.
MM: Well of course there is. Even legally, from the historical point of view — I guess you are familiar with the history of law and common law in this country. Common law apparently includes King Henry’s Herbal Charter, from what I understand.
DM: We actually used the Herbal Charter in 1993 when we represented that farmer practicing medicine before we passed the Minnesota bill.
MM: Did you? Successfully?
DM: Well, we got two hung juries.. The jury would not criminally convict our client because some jury persons realized that the law is so broad that it would put everyone out of business including grandma giving out chicken soup.
MM: Right. So did the farmer get off?
DM: We got two hung juries, and on the third time when it was sent for a new trial we said we would do a third trial and we were working pro bono. Then the prosecutor withdrew all the charges. The county had already spent over a million dollars trying to prosecute this little farmer. The prosecutor did not get re-elected.
MM: (laughs) So you already used this Charter for that?
DM: Yes. People aren’t talking freedom in our country enough. The health freedom movement is one of the strong groups of the freedom movement in general. I think NASH has been so incredibly understanding of freedom in general. They are not afraid. You all seem to be really courageous in your approach and that’s really refreshing. It’s sad to see that there are people who cannot address the question of the risk they take, what would they lose if they go into a model of regulation…
MM: Well I think they would destroy homeopathy.
DM: …they need to talk about what are the downsides to doing that [regulation].
MM: NASH is going to continue to support the notion that there is a place for this kind of non-statutory homeopathy — the practice outside of state regulation. We’re at the same time trying to preserve the homeopathic community structure, where we have the Education Council, we have the Certification Council. There are also homeopaths who are certified but are not NASH members who are not in favor of licensing.
DM: And I think that when you talk about this topic, that when you say “licensing,” it’s helpful as an educational tool to say “government licensing” because it imprints on their minds the issue of government.
MM: …and the police power that comes with it.
DM: And then, when you talk about certification you qualify it by saying “private certification,” so that they start learning the difference. Because a lot of people have it merged into one big pot.
MM: Yes, many do, actually. When they think of licensing, they think “let’s make ourselves legal” and “outside of licensing we’re illegal.” That’s my biggest problem with explaining it. Do you have any recommendation, general procedures that unlicensed people can use in their practice to avoid being charged?
DM: Well, I have done some educational videos, for example, I did a half-hour video for the Spring Forest Qigong community in Minnesota on how to comply with the Minnesota new safe harbor law.
MM: Well this would be a little different — how to practice in a state where there is no health freedom law yet.
DM: Well, I can’t say how a person can practice in a state that does not have a health freedom law, because in fact, they might not be able to. You could make sure that homeopaths have little instruction cards saying, when you’re a homeopath make sure you read the laws in your state regarding natural medicine and anything that would include homeopathy, and avoid anything that gives the impression that you are practicing within those definitions. If you are in a safe harbor state, make sure that homeopaths have a copy of the safe harbor law and encourage them to abide by it. There are a lot of people who go to schools, I don’t know about the homeopaths, where the educational institution isn’t involved in politics, and they don’t tell their students that they might not be able to practice the profession once they get out. Educational institutions want the students so they don’t promote fear about legal practice issues, but when the students get out sometimes they’re like a deer in headlights like “What? I can’t practice?”
MM: That’s right; they don’t tell them in school. I cannot understand that.
DM: So I think the association of NASH can really help with that situation.
MM: That’s why we have a strong program called the student liaison program and invite student members to become part of NASH, and that helps them understand.
DM: Thank you for all your work, Manfred!
MM: Likewise, thank you for all your work. I really appreciate you speaking with me on such short notice.
Diane Miller, JD, is a graduate of Minnesota’s College of St. Teresa and Hamline University School of Law. Miller responded to her deep interest in the politics of healing by becoming an Attorney in private practice with a concentration in Alternative Health Law, Family Law, and Divorce and Child Custody Mediation. She
is a founding member of the Minnesota Natural Health Coalition, the Minnesota Natural Health-Legal Reform Project, the National Health Freedom Coalition, the National Health Freedom Action, the World Health Freedom Assembly and the United States Health Freedom Congress. Contact her via email@example.com or www.nationalhealthfreedom.org.
Manfred Mueller, MA, DHM, RSHom (NA), CCH, has been in fulltime homeopathic practice since 1986. He has been active in legislative campaigns for homeopathic practice of both licensed and unlicensed practitioners since 1993. In 2002, he authored and helped introduce the North Carolina Consumer Health Freedom Act. He has been president of the North American Society of Homeopaths since 2005. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reprinted with permission from The American Homeopath, vol 15, 2009
Header Photo Credit: nationalhealthfreedom.org