It sounds as though Brock Lesnar’s chiropractor thinks that Canadian health care is somehow to blame for the mystery intestinal illness that is threatening the all-American manbeast’s Ultimate Fighting career. I’ve occasionally had occasion to point out in print that chiropractic is a pseudoscience cooked up by a weird Canadian grocer solely on the basis of bizarre “spiritual promptings,” received from “the other world,” about the biological basis of disease. The response from practitioners and loyal patients is always the same: that’s not us anymore. Chiropractic has left its grand, kooky theoretical and anatomical theories behind and embraced scientific method. Responsible chiropractors no longer claim plenary power to heal or comprehend the whole organism.
It’s funny, though, how often we still run across characters like Larry Novotny, who appears to regard himself as qualified to comment on a modern hospital’s handling of an intestinal infection. What’s important to understand is that evidence-based medicine is at the heart of the political struggles over health care now going on in the United States. Obama’s bright boys feel confident they can stem the growth in medical expenditures in the U.S. if practices with weak or nonexistent evidence of helpfulness can be suppressed on a national scale. Since the Canadian health care system is associated in the public mind with the Obama health program—even though Canada is actually pretty inept when it comes to using evidence to decide what treatments it will fund—chiropractors and other potentially endangered Medicare billers have a clear vested interest in spreading fear and uncertainty about Canadian medicine. (U.S. Medicare “only” pays chiropractors for “manual manipulation for subluxation of the spine.” But that is the essence of what chiropractors do; it is practically the definition of their art. And you don’t need to prove you actually have any sort of malformation of the spinal column in order to qualify for compensation.)
In short, there could be no better or more opportune anti-Obama narrative/rallying cry than “The Canadians messed up Brock Lesnar!” I hasten to add an important caveat: the Canadians may, in fact, have messed up Brock Lesnar!