By John Falardeau
With the new year and the second session of the 115th Congress now underway, the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is ready to tackle several important legislative issues on behalf of chiropractors and their patients. Here is a look at our priorities:
- ACA’s No. 1 priority is to push for full inclusion of chiropractic services in the Medicare program. For several years, ACA’s strategy to expand reimbursable services in Medicare has largely been focused on a regulatory fix, which has not yet come to fruition and continues to meet resistance from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). While still working on the regulatory front, ACA is applying a legislative approach aimed at enacting appropriate legislation and/or building Capitol Hill support that could be enlisted to pressure the U.S. Health & Human Services (HHS) secretary and CMS to implement the regulatory relief necessary.
- Closely following our Medicare priority is our effort to continue monitoring the ever-changing implementation of health care reform through the regulatory process. This is done chiefly through the administration, and we will continue to take guidance from key congressional allies. We must also continue to watch for any attempts to legislatively edit, amend or repeal our key provisions—especially Section 2706 (the provider anti-discrimination provision)—as it is clear Congress will again look to repeal parts, if not all, of the health care bill. The American Medical Association has already, on several occasions, come out in support of repealing Section 2706.
Rounding out 2018 priorities:
- Resolution of Department of Defense (DOD) chiropractic health care benefit program issues, including expansion of the chiropractic benefit for retirees, dependents and survivors enrolled in the Tricare program. We will also work to rectify pay, job and management disparities within the DOD health care program.
- Continued pursuit of a legislative remedy regarding the commissioning of chiropractors in the Public Health Service commissioned corps;
- Continued pursuit of legislation that would accelerate the placement of chiropractors at all Department of Veterans Affairs health care facilities;
- Continued pursuit of legislation that will open opportunities for chiropractic students to access student loan repayment programs, most notably chiropractic inclusion in the National Health Service Corps;
- Advocating for Senate passage of a House-passed bill to end health insurers’ anti-trust exemption via an amendment to the McCarran-Ferguson Act. Specifically, the House bill would declare that nothing in that act shall modify, impair or supersede the anti-trust laws with respect to the business of health insurance; and
- Working for Senate passage of the Sports Medicine Licensure Clarity Act, a House-passed bill designed to allow health care providers, including chiropractors, to have their licensure and liability insurance travel with them when they cross state lines while traveling with sports teams.
John Falardeau is ACA senior vice president for public policy and advocacy. Learn more about ACA’s legislative activities at www.acatoday.org/Advocacy or follow us on Twitter @ACAonTheHill.