By Jack Dusik
Regular attendees of ACA’s National Chiropractic Leadership Conference (NCLC) have learned to expect nature to play a supporting role during this action-packed event, and this year did not disappoint. With wind storms topping out at more than 70 mph, and the cancelling of votes in the U.S. House of Representatives to make way for the late Rev. Billy Graham to lie in honor in the Capitol Rotunda, NCLC 2018 was especially challenging.
Yet these twists and turns only underscored the dedication of the hundreds of chiropractors and students who forged ahead, enthusiastically delivering the profession’s message to more than 300 officials and their staff members in the House and Senate, making NCLC 2018 one of the most successful Advocacy Days in recent memory.
Whether meeting with top congressional leaders, or members of the freshmen class, the tone of the meetings was better. Attendees noted that conversations often cut short went longer, delving deeper into issues of concern to chiropractors. The change was seemingly due to Congress’ increased focus on combating America’s opioid epidemic--an example of the profession’s perseverance in offering safe alternatives to yet another failed policy of the past.
Issues requiring action covered by volunteer advocates included:
- full integration of services provided by chiropractors in the Veterans Affairs health care system;
- extending the chiropractic benefit in TRICARE to military retirees, dependents and survivor beneficiaries;
- restoring the application of federal antitrust and competition laws to the business of health insurance;
- and opening the National Health Service Corps to chiropractors, who have been arbitrarily prevented from participating in the program.
It's important to note that roughly half of all meetings during NCLC were with the offices of senators and representatives serving on committees of jurisdiction over the issues of interest to the chiropractic profession. This includes the House Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Veterans and Armed Services committees. In the Senate, talks were held with senior members of the Veterans, Finance and HELP committees.
Another highlight of NCLC 2018 were remarks offered throughout the conference during visits by Sen. Jon Tester (Mont.), and Reps. David Young (Iowa), Brian Higgins (N.Y.), Earl Blumenauer (Ore.), Brad Schneider (Ill.), Virginia Foxx (N.C.) and Ron Estes (Kansas).
Additionally, a large contingency of SACA members were invited to attend a briefing of the Congressional Dietary Supplement Caucus, where they heard from Chris D’Adamo, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Maryland School of Medicine, and director of research, Center for Integrative Medicine, who presented a scientific perspective on advancements in sports nutrition and the role supplements play in optimal health and wellness.
While the day was a success, the work of relationship building and the turning of commitments into concrete support of the profession continues long after the initial contact is made. Therefore, whether you attended this exciting day in person or not, please support your colleagues and make a statement on behalf of chiropractic by calling or sending a message to your congressman through our Chiropractic Action Center, where you also can learn more about the issues promoted at NCLC. Just find your senator or representative’s information in the system, and voice your support of pro-chiropractic legislation with a few clicks of a button.
By taking this simple, yet vital step, you will amplify the message delivered by your colleagues here in Washington, D.C., and help prompt members of Congress to act on the many issues advocated for during NCLC.
Take action today!
Jack Dusik is ACA's senior director of federal government relations. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.