By John Falardeau
ACA continues its work to re-introduce a bill that would increase access to chiropractic services for Medicare beneficiaries. A similar bill introduced in 2018 is being used as a starting point for a 2019 bill and was a focal point at NCLC 2019. The proposed legislation would simply update the current Medicare statute and allow patients to access all Medicare-covered benefits permitted under a chiropractor’s licensure.
Working with the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives, ACA met in March with the new chair of the Ways and Means Committee’s Subcommittee on Health, Rep. Lloyd Doggett (D-Texas), in Austin. During the meeting, we were encouraged to engage and continue talks with Ways and Means members. Similar “in-district” meetings with key members of the committee also continue. In addition, preliminary discussions regarding the introduction of a new Medicare parity bill have started in the Senate.
The February edition of The American Chiropractor contained an article that outlines ACA ‘s strategy on Medicare. We also continue to work with our outside lobbyists, the Capitol Hill Consulting Group, to bolster our advocacy efforts in Washington. Members of the firm work closely with ACA staff to hone strategy, enhance our visibility and open more doors.
The ACA Political Action Committee (PAC), working closely with the ACA Legislative Advisory Board, is again strategically targeting contributions to members of the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce committees, which are the primary committees of jurisdiction for the Medicare issue. The committee of jurisdiction in the Senate, Finance, is also being targeted by ACA’s PAC. Focus on these committees has been paramount since 2015, when ACA’s House of Delegates declared Medicare parity the association’s primary legislative issue. For a list of congressional members the ACA PAC contributed to in the last election cycle, click here.
With more than 375 meetings with House and Senate members and congressional staff during NCLC (the largest congressional coverage in recent memory), ACA is poised to make its goal to introduce a Medicare bill a reality. Until then, educating congressional members and staff here in Washington must continue. Be assured, ACA is on Capitol Hill daily, and we will continue to push this issue until a Medicare parity bill is introduced, passed and signed into law. Our patients deserve nothing less.
You can help the Medicare initiative in several different ways:
- Talk to your patients, family and friends and have them sign the Medicare petition. The more people behind this effort, the greater the likelihood of our success.
- Contribute to the ACA PAC, chiropractic’s most effective national political arm, contributing more than $200,000 to chiropractic supporters in the last election cycle.
- Meet with your members of Congress locally and talk to them about the Medicare initiative. Talking points can be found here.
- Contact ACA for other tips and helpful information on scheduling congressional visits.
The momentum created at NCLC in January has continued into the year, and this is a great time to recognize certain members for their work related to government relations and ACA PAC:
- Dr. Quinn James, Missouri alternate delegate, and board member Dr. Kathy Boulet, from Maine, always set the standard by following up on their NCLC Capitol Hill visits and urging their congressional delegations to support ACA initiatives. Their efforts have been well documented on the HoD forum and they’ve set the bar for all of us to follow.
- A task force led by Next Generation member Dr. Esteban Sandoval is in the process of enhancing the PAC’s ability to raise money to contribute to chiropractic-friendly legislators. This new system, to be implemented this summer, will give ACA PAC the ability to raise funds from a variety of electronic platforms and bring political fundraising to new levels.
John Falardeau is ACA’s senior vice president of public policy and advocacy.