NCLAF was originally established in 1999 as an ACA-administered fund to raise monies from individual doctors of chiropractic, state chiropractic associations and other supportive groups to support select legal action efforts of national importance to the entire profession. Two major initial efforts undertaken by NCLAF involved federal lawsuits—one of which was against the Health Care Finance Administration (HCFA) and a subsequent suit was brought against Blue Cross & Blue Shield.
NCLAF funds were initially restricted to legal action activities. Various legal action activities followed, including a lawsuit against Optum (currently suspended by ACA and under review).
In 2009, ACA launched the Chiropractic Health Advocacy and Mobilization Project (CHAMP), a campaign to raise a war chest of funds in support of strategic lobbying activities to boost chiropractic’s profile on Capitol Hill. Specifically, these funds were used to support an enhanced ACA-led lobbying campaign during the debate over national health care reform, which led to enactment of the Affordable Care Act. The CHAMP funds made it possible for ACA to hire outside professional lobbying services that would normally not have been available.
During the active years of the debate over national health care reform and the subsequent regulatory development phase of the Affordable Care Act, ACA placed a greater emphasis on raising funds for CHAMP vs. NCLAF, although fundraising for both distinct efforts continued.
With most of the regulatory phase of the Affordable Care Act in place, and CHAMP fundraising having receded to low levels, ACA made the decision to combine CHAMP and NCLAF into a single fund in June 2014. The unified NCLAF was re-established with the flexibility to have monies available for both enhanced lobbying and legal action needs. In theory, the new focus would help clarify confusion over the purpose of two individual funds as well as eliminate duplicate fundraising efforts and related business inefficiencies. The new fund was renamed the National Chiropractic Legal and Legislative Action Fund but retained the simplified acronym NCLAF.