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Who Are These So-Called QUACKBUSTERS? Part I
Who are these so-called "Quackbusters"?...
Opinion by Consumer Advocate Tim Bolen
February 2nd, 2003
Americans have known, or suspected, for some time, that there has been
an organized assault by a group, against companies, and practitioners,
offering alternatives to the drugs/surgery paradigm. That group calls
itself the "quackbusters," and they are a scam. I'm about to tell you
WHY that assault was formally assembled, HOW THE SCAM works, and WHO
the players are, and WHAT they're up to right now. In my next
newsletter I'll tell you WHY, right now, Wisconsin is the important
If you know who they are, and how they operate, you can beat them.
North America has been going towards what are called "alternatives,"
in health and medicine, in a big way. More than half of the US health
dollar is currently being spent on this phenomena. With new billing
codes (ABC Codes) going into effect, allowing insurance and Medicare
to pay for "alternative" therapies, that percentage will, no doubt,
In California, the fifth largest stand-alone economy in the world,
where I live, the health freedom movement is much larger than anywhere
else. Here, we'd rather be healthy than medicated. We've analyzed
the politics of the problem, and successfully turned the political
environment to our way of thinking. We simply do not put up with
"quackbuster" crap, here.. Why should we?
And, neither should you...
Throughout this discourse keep something important in mind. It's this
- we in the Health Freedom Movement outnumber the quackbusters 100,000
to 1. We've got more money than they do, and we've got better, and
more talented people. We also have better lawyers. It is time to use
our advantage to destroy them.
WHY IT WAS FORMALLY ASSEMBLED...
Three things, I believe, seriously alarmed conventional (mainstream)
medicine and spurred them to action in late 1996.
The FIRST thing was reports showing that medical care in this country
is so bad that doctors and hospitals are listed as the third largest
cause of unnecessary death. Americans have been finding out that the
average MD these days, beyond the emergency room, has little to offer
beyond the "magic bullet," meaning the new drug pushed this week by
the drug company salesman.
The bottom line in conventional medical care is a shock, and Americans
are expressing their displeasure with the situation with their changes
in health buying patterns - which leads to the Second thing.
The SECOND thing was a 1993 report in the New England Journal of
Medicine (JAMA) that showed the huge financial impact of "Alternative
Medicine" on the US health care dollar.
The THIRD was the Clinton Administration's identification of "health
fraud" as a major cause of health care's rising costs - and the
announcement of Attorney General Janet Reno's plans to deal with that
THE EFFECTS ON MAINSTREAM...
STOMACH ACHE #1 - The 1993 JAMA report on Alternative Medicine... had
to be a shock to conventional medicine. It showed that the American
public was not in the "Marcus Welby," or the "Ben Casey" mode any more
- where the guy in the white coat, with the stethoscope around his
neck, was America's sole source of health advice. The "Ask Your
Doctor" program was flat-out dying.
The JAMA report suggested that more visits were being made to
unconventional practitioners in 1990 then to conventional - 488
million unconventional visits to 388 million to primary care
physicians. 13.7 billion dollars was spent on unconventional
practices as opposed to 12.8 billion for hospitalization.
Alternative Medicine, which excels outside of the Emergency Room was,
offering real health solutions.
STOMACH ACHE #2 - Then, in 1995, Janet Reno, the then Attorney
General, under the direction of the US President, came out with a
program identifying "health fraud" as a major problem in the US health
care system. She shocked, and frightened, conventional practitioners.
"Health Fraud" - was, and is, defined by the Justice Department as
"Over billing, false coding, MD kickbacks, etc.." Reno, of course,
was right - conventional medicine was, and is, involved in sheer greed
and dishonesty. It was, and is, a huge problem.
In response, mainstream medical went into orbit, trying to deflect her
attack - to no avail. Janet Reno was teaching "seniors" how to read
their medical bills - and turn their doctor into the Feds. The "Meds"
were in trouble with the "Feds." And, still are. And, should be...
So mainstream, rather than fix their own house, had to come up with a
plan to counter these two assaults on their dollar intake. They
did... and here it is...
HOW THE SCAM WORKS...
In 1996, mainstream launched their counter-attack. It was a four part
dis-information Public Relations campaign designed to kill two birds
(stomach aches) with one stone. They wanted Janet Reno (and the
American public) off their backs, and they wanted to get rid of their
upstart competitor Alternative Medicine. So they came up with a
simple plan - re-define the term "health fraud" with a massive
dis-information campaign. The intent was to re-define the word AWAY
from Reno's definition of "Over billing, false coding, MD kickbacks,
etc.." to a different focus - "Alternative Medicine." They put the
plan into effect.
Enter, from stage right - the "quackbusters..."
PART ONE of the plan was what I call the "definition switch." Janet
Reno, in her original plan, had expected cooperation from the State
Medical Boards. She expected the Boards to prosecute billing cheaters.
She NEVER got that cooperation.
In Chicago in 1996, at the FSMB (Federation of States Medical Boards)
annual meeting, a major program was presented. It was, supposedly, on
"health fraud," and how to combat it. Conspicuously, there were no
speakers from Janet Reno's team. If any of Janet Reno's people
thought this was going to help the Federal program - they were wrong.
The Feds that were attending must have been in shock, upon seeing the
presentation. Only once in the program was the Fed's definition of
"health fraud" ever mentioned - it was by FTC's Matt Daynard who made
it clear that their (the FTC's) concerns were MUCH broader than
theirs. Other than an apparently confused Daynard, no where in the
program was there a discussion of how to prosecute doctors who
over-billed, false coded, took kickbacks, etc. All they talked about
was "Alternative Medicine," and how to prosecute it - calling it
From that moment on - While Feds prosecuted sleazy hospitals, greedy
MDs, clinics, ambulance operators, home suppliers, etc., State Medical
Boards were to target two categories (a) solo practitioner MDs that
recommended supplements, exercise, etc., instead of prescription
drugs, and (2) unlicensed competitors to the drug/surgery dollars,
i.e.; Naturopaths, Homeopaths, Nutritionists, Health food Stores,
Massage Therapists, etc..
And the war began in earnest. For, even then the Health Freedom
Movement, although not organized, had muscle. Hundreds of fights
across the nation, ensued.
PART TWO of the plan was to affect Federal Agencies - and try to
redirect those agency's efforts away from the Justice Department's
program, and convince them to focus their energies on "Alternative
medicine" proponents. They did this with a four-part sub-plan. (a)
They invited FTC and FDA lower level employees to their meetings for
the express purpose of propagandizing, and kissing-up to them. (b).
They created a system of "meetings" where they had access to those
Federal employees on a regular basis - for the purpose of
propagandizing them (c) They used their contacts within those
Federal agencies to gain unwarranted credibility for their own plans,
and anti-alternative medicine programs. (d) They got the US
Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) to give them official
PART THREE of the plan, was a propaganda gambit. It was in two parts
(a) create a so-called "information base." Websites appeared,
sounding authoritative, like Stephen Barrett's sleazy
www.quackwatch.com, and others. The questionable organization, the
National Council Against Health Fraud (NCAHF), was to provide
so-called "expert witnesses" for testimony. The FSMB was to act as a
clearinghouse, both for names of people suggested for prosecution
(persecution), and for where to find "information" and "expert
witnesses." And more...
DHHS was duped into giving the quackbusters unwarranted credibility.
Type in the key words "health fraud" on a government website, and up
pops the National Council Against Health Fraud's website, and
The second part (b) , and equally important was to demonize, and
criminalize, all aspects of "alternatives" through false suggestions,
or claims, against them. For instance; The claim that herbals are
"untested" and not "standardized" is simply a ploy to make herbals
look bad. Herbals do not need to be "tested," nor "standardized." .
Herbals are more like wine - since they are a natural product,
dependant upon natural factors like weather, no two batches are going
to be the same. Herbals, being part of nature (part of earth's life
cycle) have been field tested since the beginning of time. The
"testing" process we the people put in place is for new "drugs," not
herbals - those things, unlike herbals, that have NEVER been
introduced into the human body before. Generally speaking, drugs are
HUGELY DANGEROUS - hence the warnings of side effects.
PART FOUR of the plan was to create a relationship with Medicare, and
the health Insurance Industry, to supposedly, advise them of "health
fraud." It incorporated, in a sub-plan parts One, Two, and Three,
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