The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) acknowledges the difficulties associated with implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), passed in 2010. Many exchanges are down to only one plan available to consumers and premiums have skyrocketed since the law has been in effect.
“The bill passed May 5th by the House of Representatives needs further work to truly enhance patient access to affordable conservative care,” said ACA President David A. Herd, DC. “The American Chiropractic Association is particularly concerned with a state’s ability to apply for a waiver to jettison the essential health benefits provision of PPACA, which outlines the list of benefits that plans in the exchange and the private markets must contain. Our fear is that the only affordable plans that will be available will contain minimal coverage, limiting patient access to chiropractors and other providers who offer non-drug, noninvasive conservative approaches to health care.”
The bill, the American Health Care Act of 2017 (H.R. 1628), now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to be amended significantly and may look very little like the bill passed by the House. Differences in each chamber’s bill will have to be settled in a House-Senate conference committee. Exact timing on Senate action is not known at this time.
“There was little opportunity for stakeholder input throughout this process,” Dr. Herd stated. “We trust the Senate will hone this legislation to protect the millions of patients who have coverage and remove onerous provisions such as the one adversely affecting the essential benefits package. The chiropractic profession remains at the ready to work with the Senate to provide input, especially on issues regarding access to cost-effective conservative treatment provided by doctors of chiropractic.”
Good News: New Legislation Could Include Chiropractors in the U.S. Public Health Service
A new bill in the U.S. House of Representatives would improve the quality of America’s health care infrastructure by further integrating doctors of chiropractic (DCs) through the nation’s official delivery and research networks. H.R. 2202, introduced by Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), calls for the appointment of chiropractors as officers in the U.S. Public Health Service (USPHS) Commissioned Corps.
“Chiropractic services are already used and highly valued by our nation’s active-duty military and veterans,” said American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President David Herd, DC. “As the nation continues to struggle with the opioid crisis, H.R. 2202 will allow chiropractors to collaborate with other health care providers in the USPHS Commissioned Corps to bring a wider choice of conservative health care options to the American public. We extend our sincere gratitude to Rep. Green for his work in introducing this very important piece of legislation.”
H.R. 2202 would include chiropractors in the USPHS Regular Corps and the Ready Reserve Corps, and would require the president, in consultation with the Surgeon General and the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, to appoint no fewer than six chiropractors to the Commissioned Corps. Although the Commissioned Corps includes representatives from many diverse health care professions, no chiropractors have ever been appointed to serve.
USPHS is an elite team of more than 6,500 full-time, well trained, highly qualified public health professionals dedicated to delivering the nation’s public health promotion and disease prevention programs and advancing public health science. As one of America’s seven uniformed services, the Commissioned Corps fills essential public health leadership and service roles within the nation’s federal government agencies and programs. Officers in the Corps provide health care services in a variety of locations and venues, including care to members of the U.S. Coast Guard and at community health centers.