Arlington, Va. – The U.S. Senate today introduced a bill, S. 4042, to modernize Medicare coverage and better meet the needs of today’s seniors by increasing access to services provided by doctors of chiropractic. An identical bipartisan-supported bill in the House currently has 130 cosponsors.
Sponsored by Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) with Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) as original cosponsors, the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act—which is identical in text to the House version, H.R. 2654—would give Medicare beneficiaries access to all covered Medicare benefits available from their chiropractors, provided the services are allowed under the doctor’s state license.
Medicare beneficiaries are currently covered for only one chiropractic service—manual manipulation of the spine—and forced to pay for additional services out of pocket or to seek those services from a different type of provider, requiring more time, travel and expense.
“Medicare beneficiaries want to lead active lives, but as we age musculoskeletal problems become more common. Access to chiropractic’s safe, patient-centered and evidence-based nondrug approach to back pain, neck pain and other musculoskeletal conditions provides options to those who wish to reduce or avoid pain medications and surgery,” said American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, PhD.
“ACA thanks Sens. Blumenthal, Cramer, Baldwin, and Wicker for their support of this important legislation, which augments ongoing efforts to stem the opioid crisis in America by giving seniors access to effective nondrug therapies readily available in chiropractic clinics,” noted Keith Overland, DC, chair of the ACA Legislative Committee.
Both S. 4042 and H.R.2654 add no new services to Medicare. They simply allow patients to access current Medicare benefits that their chiropractors are licensed to provide. The statute that governs patient access to chiropractic in Medicare has been unchanged since 1972, limiting patient choice in a manner that does not align with most modern healthcare plans or the chiropractic profession’s role today in mainstream health care. Projections indicate the number of people age 65 and older who are eligible for Medicare–currently over 60 million–will increase by one-third over the next decade.
To learn more and find out what you can do to support passage of S. 4042/H.R. 2654, visit www.acatoday.org/Medicare.