Arlington, VA – Both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate today reintroduced legislation to increase access to Medicare-covered services provided by doctors of chiropractic. The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 1610 / S. 799) would bring Medicare’s coverage of chiropractic into alignment with most other federal programs and private health plans, giving seniors improved coverage of non-drug treatments to alleviate pain and improve function.
The legislation was introduced by Reps. Gregory Steube (R-Fla.), Brian Higgins (D-N.Y), Mark Alford (R-Mo.) and John Larson (D-Conn.) in the House and Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) in the Senate. Both bills were introduced with a number of bipartisan original cosponsors. An identical bill that expired last year in Congress achieved more than 150 cosponsors in the House, split almost evenly between Democrats and Republications, and six cosponsors in the Senate.
“The level of bipartisan support we achieved with the last bill tells us that this is an issue that resonates and has the momentum to go all the way,” noted John Falardeau, ACA senior vice president of public policy and advocacy. “We thank Sens. Blumenthal and Cramer and Reps. Steube, Higgins, Alford and Larson for their leadership in reintroducing this important legislation, which will benefit America’s seniors.”
“Giving Medicare beneficiaries more options for non-drug services to treat common musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain is critical in ongoing efforts to reduce opioid overuse,” noted ACA President Michael Martin, DC. “Chiropractic care is a part of the solution for many patients who seek to avoid or reduce their reliance on prescription pain medications.”
H.R. 1610/S. 799 would update the Medicare statute that has limited beneficiary access to chiropractic services for over 50 years. The legislation adds no new benefits; it simply allows Medicare beneficiaries access to the profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management and musculoskeletal health. This includes manual manipulation of the spine (the only chiropractic service now covered), as well as services such as manual manipulation of the extremities and numerous other non-drug treatments, evaluation and management services, and diagnostic imaging. The range of services available to beneficiaries would be determined by a chiropractor’s state licensure.
Chiropractic services and other nonpharmacologic approaches to pain management have become an important part of national efforts to reduce the overuse and abuse of prescription opioid pain medications. The opioid crisis has taken its toll among seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries as it has in communities nationwide.
Learn more at www.acatoday.org/medicare, including how you can reach out to Congress in support of this important legislation.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) is the largest professional chiropractic organization in the United States. ACA attracts the most principled and accomplished chiropractors, who understand that it takes more to be called an ACA chiropractor. We are leading our profession in the most constructive and far-reaching ways—by working hand in hand with other health care professionals, by lobbying for pro-chiropractic legislation and policies, by supporting meaningful research and by using that research to inform our treatment practices. We also provide professional and educational opportunities for all our members and are committed to being a positive and unifying force for the practice of modern chiropractic. To learn more, visit www.acatoday.org.