On March 14, 2023, a significant step was taken to enhance Medicare's scope of coverage for chiropractic services. The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate reintroduced the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 1610 / S. 799). Introduced by a bipartisan group of lawmakers, the legislation aims to provide seniors with increased access to chiropractic care as a non-drug alternative for pain management.
The primary goal of the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act is to bring Medicare's coverage for chiropractic services in line with that of other federal programs and private health plans. Essentially, the bill seeks to expand the variety of chiropractic services covered by Medicare. Currently, Medicare only covers manual manipulation of the spine. The legislation proposes to include services like manual manipulation of extremities and other non-drug treatments, evaluation and management services, and diagnostic imaging based on a chiropractor’s state licensure.
The introduction of this legislation has received an overwhelming bipartisan endorsement. In a previous legislative session, an identical bill gathered over 150 cosponsors in the House and six in the Senate, an almost equal divide between Democrats and Republicans. The bipartisan nature of the support indicates a growing awareness of the need for diverse pain management options, particularly for seniors.
One of the compelling arguments for expanding chiropractic services under Medicare is the ongoing opioid crisis. The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) President, Michael Martin, DC, notes, "Giving Medicare beneficiaries more options for non-drug services to treat common musculoskeletal conditions like back pain is critical in ongoing efforts to reduce opioid overuse." Chiropractic care offers a non-pharmacological approach to manage pain and improve musculoskeletal health, which could contribute to mitigating the opioid crisis.
The public can play an important role in advancing this legislation. John Falardeau, ACA's senior vice president of public policy and advocacy, mentions that the high level of bipartisan support indicates that the legislation "has the momentum to go all the way." Visit https://.acatoday.org/medicare to learn how you can reach out to Congress in support of this significant legislation.
The reintroduction of the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act aims to modernize and expand the range of chiropractic services available to Medicare beneficiaries. This is a crucial move towards offering seniors improved coverage for non-drug treatments to manage pain and enhance function. With bipartisan support and its critical role in combating the opioid crisis, the legislation shows promise for changing the landscape of chiropractic care in the Medicare system.
For more information and to get involved, visit the American Chiropractic Association.