Medicare Modernization Bill Poised for Return in Coming Congress

The congressional omnibus bill and tax extenders were released on Monday, Dec. 18, and ACA’s bill to expand access to chiropractic for Medicare patients was not included. The dynamics of this end of the year package made inclusions to the Medicare program difficult for all constituents. The work of ACA committees and volunteers to attain support and cosponsors for this legislation was nothing short of miraculous, and we will start the 118th Congress with strong bipartisan support in the House and Senate.

The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act

Legislation championed by ACA to increase Medicare coverage of chiropractic services has been introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act will allow Medicare beneficiaries access to the chiropractic profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management, which includes manual manipulation of the spine and extremities, evaluation and management services, diagnostic imaging and utilization of other non-drug approaches that have become an important strategy in national efforts to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse.

The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act:

  • Is bipartisan legislation that provides patient access to all Medicare-covered benefits allowable under a chiropractor’s state licensure.
  • Appropriately defines a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) as a “physician” in the Medicare program.

ACA Continues to Fight CMS Reduction in Physician Fee Schedule Reimbursement

As a founding member of the E/M Coalition, ACA is part of an effort started in late 2020. For example, this letter, sent in 2021 (PDF).

 

Background: Medicare Coverage for Chiropractic Patients

To best serve their senior patients, chiropractic physicians must be allowed to practice and be reimbursed to the fullest extent of their licensure, training and competencies. Medicare access for patients of chiropractic is ACA’s top legislative and regulatory priority.

Since the chiropractic profession was first included in Medicare in 1972, Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) and their patients have been burdened by arbitrary limitations that lack any scientific or sound policy justification.

Research demonstrating positive patient outcomes and cost effectiveness resulting from chiropractic care have advanced private coverage and state licensures to meet patient needs.

The federal Medicare program, which serves as a model for private insurance plans, currently serves more than 55 million individuals. Various projections forecast the number of people age 65 or older increasing by about one-third over the next decade. Chiropractic inclusion in the Medicare program was established in 1972 and has seen little change since then, other than elimination of the X-ray requirement in 1997.

Chiropractic in Medicare Timeline (PDF)