CHIROPRACTORS: Senators’ Resolution Bolsters ACA Position
Backed by the American Chiropractic Association, four senators introduced a resolution Monday that would allow Medicare beneficiaries covered through Medicare+Choice to receive treatment through a doctor of chiropractic, which is already available to Medicare Part B beneficiaries. Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND), along with co-sponsors Sens. Tom Harkin (D-IA), Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Orrin Hatch (R-UT), introduced in the Senate a companion bill to Rep. Barbara Cubin's (R-WY) resolution, cosponsored by seven representatives -- Rep. Marion Berry (D-AR), Rep. William Clay (D-MO), Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), Rep. Phil English (R-PA), Rep. Nancy Johnson (R-CT), Rep. Joe Skeen (R-NM) and Rep. James Traficant (D-OH). If approved by Congress, the bill would bolster the ACA's lawsuit filed last November against the HCFA. In that suit, the ACA charges that HCFA violated a Balanced Budget Act statute by allowing health care providers (rather than chiropractors) to perform spinal manipulations on Medicare+Choice members. Under the BBA, all services provided under Medicare Part B must also be covered under the Medicare+Choice program. However, the ACA contends, HCFA interpreted the law to mean that "there are no, and never have been, chiropractic services in the Medicare program." The ACA contends that the new Medicare+Choice regulations "threaten to eliminate the provision of chiropractic services by chiropractors under Medicare and threaten to establish a precedent for elimination of chiropractic in all managed health care plans." Dr. Edward Maurer, chair of the ACA board, said, "This resolution supports our lawsuit by expressing congressional intent, in legislative form" (ACA release, 5/19).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.