Arlington, Va. — The National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys (NACA) today announced that it has issued a proclamation recognizing “the historic and profoundly positive legal ramifications for the chiropractic profession and the patient community it serves in Section 2706, ‘Non-Discrimination in Health Care,’ recently enacted as part of the federal ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.’”
The provider non-discrimination provision reads in part: “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”
The provision has long been championed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and members of the Chiropractic Summit. It was achieved primarily due to collaboration with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and help from other key players such as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). Although he did not support the final bill overall, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also lent his support for the advancement of the non-discrimination provision. ACA will continue to fight for proper implementation during the regulatory process.
“It is important to recognize this provision as a historic first for the chiropractic profession. We now have a federal law applicable to ERISA plans that makes it against the law for insurance companies to discriminate against doctors of chiropractic and other providers relative to their participation and coverage in health plans,” said NACA Vice President Mike Schroeder. “While there is still much work to be done in the regulatory process, we are encouraged by the fact that Congress has finally acted to end provider discrimination based on one’s license.”
It is also important to note that Section 2706, and its assurance of non-discrimination in terms of participation and coverage, effectively requires that doctors of chiropractic be allowed to provide any “essential benefit” that is within their scope of practice. This will prove to be a particularly significant victory as the essential benefits package under the health care reform law is defined over the next couple of years.
“As significant as Section 2706 is to the chiropractic profession, it is possible to lose ground during the regulatory drafting process,” said NACA President Paul Lambert. “NACA strongly encourages all segments of the chiropractic profession to support ACA in its efforts to ensure that the regulations enacted under Section 2706 properly reflect the patient protections intended in the statute.”
To support the work being done to ensure the proper implementation of the provider non-discrimination provision, visit the CHAMP Web site at www.chirochamp.org, and encourage chiropractic patients to join ChiroVoice at www.chirovoice.org. In addition, state chiropractic associations can also adopt resolutions recognizing the importance of Section 2706.
NACA is the only organization in the United States and Canada dedicated to legal professionals representing regional, state, local and national chiropractic associations, chiropractic colleges and state chiropractic licensing boards. The purpose of NACA is to network and provide legal education on chiropractic issues to better represent chiropractic associations, licensing boards and colleges and to advocate on a national and local level for issues benefiting chiropractic physicians and their patients. NACA provides resource information to address national and local issues faced by organizations representing or regulating chiropractic.
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA), based in Arlington, Va., is the largest professional association in the United States representing doctors of chiropractic. ACA promotes the highest standards of ethics and patient care, contributing to the health and well-being of millions of chiropractic patients. Visit us at www.acatoday.org.