Meet with Members of Congress to Discuss Medicare Bill: One Member’s Strategy

Your profession needs you now. We are in a critical moment, as we stand on the precipice of being able to pass The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 1610/S. 799). This law would allow you to practice to the full extent of your license under Medicare. This would be fantastic for Medicare patients. Without your assistance, however, it is going to be hard to pass. But if everyone helps just a little, this will be easy.

Dr. Schatzberg

The first time we tried to pass this legislation in the 116th Congress, we had 95 cosponsors. The second time in the 117th Congress we were able to achieve 155 cosponsors. If we can get 290 cosponsors out of the 435 representatives in the House, this automatically goes to a discussion and a vote. Obviously, if you have 290 cosponsors out of the 435 members of Congress, the vote will be successful, and the bill will pass.

So there it is on a silver platter for our profession: We only need 135 more cosponsors than we had last time. Every year, the ACA Legislative team has gotten more experienced in understanding what needs to be done.

And if every ACA member gets their members of Congress to cosponsor this legislation, we will make this happen.

Please keep reading if you want to be a difference maker. It is not hard to get your members of Congress to cosponsor the bill. In fact, there is a system I have been using with much success. I’ll share it below:

Schedule Your Meeting

Call your congressperson’s Washington DC office and ask for the scheduler. Ask to schedule a virtual meeting with their healthcare issues staffer or the legislative director. If possible, include a couple other constituent chiropractors or even a constituent patient in the virtual meeting. In that meeting, let them know how the current law only covers manipulation of the spine. It doesn’t cover exams, X-rays, or other treatments we provide that could be beneficial to a patient’s condition. The hardship of having to pay for these other medically necessary services forces many patients to have to seek medical care instead of conservative drug-free/surgery-free chiropractic care, which costs less too. When patients see chiropractors, they are also much less likely to be put on opioid medications.

Prepare for Your Meeting

ACA offers several resources online to help you prepare for your meeting:

Research Summary: Reduced Costs and Opioid Use (PDF)

Talking Points: H.R. 1610 / S. 799 (PDF)

Issue Brief: The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 1610 / S. 799) (PDF)

Chiropractic Care Associated with Lower Risk of Opioid Use by Medicare Beneficiaries (Whedon) (PDF)

United Healthcare Benefit for Low Back Pain Helps Reduce Invasive Procedures and Address the Opioid Epidemic (PDF)

QR Code: Patient Flyer (PDF)

Look for more information and resources here.

At the Meeting

The virtual meeting will only take about 20-30 minutes at the most. It’s unusual to speak to the congressperson directly; you will likely talk to the legislative director, healthcare director or legislative assistant. That is more than okay.

Talk to this person with the same respect you would give your congressperson. This is the person who will recommend that your member of Congress signs on our bill as a cosponsor. Ask them if they have any questions. If you don’t know the answer, you can let them know you will get back to them. (Note, you can contact John Falardeau, senior vice president of public policy and advocacy at ACA at [email protected], and he can answer any questions you have). Before you finish, thank the person you meet with for their time. Send them an email after the meeting, thanking them again and mentioning that it would be great for Medicare patients if the congressperson became a cosponsor of H.R. 1610/S. 799.

Follow Up Monthly

Then simply send an email once a month, asking what the status is of your member of Congress cosponsoring the bill. The monthly follow-up email to the person you had the meeting with is the key to success in most cases. It’s that simple!

Give it a try! If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at [email protected].

Other Ways to Help

If you can’t meet with your member of Congress, there are still other ways to help. Consider putting the QR Code: Patient Flyer up on the wall by your front desk. Once scanned, the code links to a page where you can create an autogenerated email to members of Congress, asking them to cosponsor this important legislation.

If you are an ACA member, you can also donate to the ACA-PAC, which is dedicating its funds to this legislation. Donate to ACA PAC Today!

The Chiropractic Medicare Modernization Act will have an enormous impact on the profession and its patients, so please help where you can. Do your part to help get this legislation passed and be a part of making chiropractic history!

Dr. Schatzberg is ACA’s Pennsylvania delegate and a member of the ACA Legislative Committee.