International Chiropractors Association

ICA Launches Nationwide Medicare Fairness Grassroots Campaign

The International Chiropractors Association (ICA) today launches a new National Medicare Fairness Campaign to build grassroots support for badly needed reforms in the chiropractic portion of the federal Medicare program.  “The objective of this important undertaking is to mobilize DCs and patients in the tens of thousands and to organize them through a petition campaign and a legislative action data base,” said ICA Vice President Dr. Stephen Welsh.  “We recognize that this is going to be a long-term effort and that it will take a great deal of coordination and communication to accomplish our goal.  This drive marks the beginning of the effort on the part of the ICA.”

The ICA is actively promoting legislative language that will expand the range of Medicare covered services but also help ensure that the existing coverage for the adjustment to correct a subluxation will be retained in the Medicare statute, section 1861(r) 5, which defines the participation of a chiropractor as a physician in the Medicare system.

ICA recognizes the powerful potential of highlighting to policy makers the issues of fairness and patient choice in Medicare, a system that presently tends to drive patients onto more expensive medical care by strictly limiting choices, especially choices of different types of providers, even though other, non-MD providers are fully qualified and licensed to perform Medicare covered services.  The model on which ICA seeks to build its campaign is the concept of an across-the-board non-discrimination policy for Medicare, much like that which has been incorporated into the Affordable Care Act.

On January 1, 2014 the non-discrimination provisions of Section 2706 of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) became effective.  The nondiscrimination provision of that act states:

“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.

While this provision applies to private health insurance plans regulated at the state level, the Medicare Part B Program has no such provision.  The result has been that the Medicare Beneficiaries that choose to seek care from a chiropractor are required to pay for their exams, X-Rays and are reimbursed for only the chiropractic adjustment to correct a subluxation.

The basis for this is how chiropractors are defined as participating physicians under the Federal Medicare Statutes (Sec.1861(r)5: “a chiropractor who is licensed as such by the State (or in a State which does not license chiropractors as such, is legally authorized to perform the services of a chiropractor in the jurisdiction in which he performs such services), and who meets uniform minimum standards promulgated by the Secretary, but only for the purpose of sections 1861(s)(1) and 1861(s)(2)(A) and only with respect to treatment by means of manual manipulation of the spine (to correct a subluxation) which he is legally authorized to perform by the State or jurisdiction in which such treatment is provided.”

Isn’t it time to get rid of the “only”, and remove the current restriction which unfairly penalizes the patient that chooses a safer, less expensive form of care?  ICA believes it is time to aggressively target the discriminatory language of the current law and to seek fairness for the chiropractic patients.  Don’t they deserve equal treatment under the law?

Act today and become part of this historic Medicare reform effort.  Click here to sign the petition and become part of a powerful grassroots movement on behalf of fairness.  The time is now.  Please, stand up and be counted.  The profession and the patients we serve deserve nothing less.