Illinois Chiropractic Physicians Lobby Congress
Several members of the Illinois Chiropractic Society joined hundreds of other chiropractic physicians from across the country to meet with their elected officials in Washington, D.C. regarding needed improvements to the federal Medicare program. The day of advocacy, which was held January 26th, was dubbed “ACA Engage” and coordinated by the American Chiropractic Association.
The effort was designed to gain support for the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act, legislation that has been introduced in the last two congressional sessions. The legislative measure will be reintroduced this year, with high hopes that it can gain passage. Last year 157 bipartisan co-sponsors signed onto the bill in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2654); a companion bill was introduced in the Senate as well, which garnered six co-sponsors (S. 4042).
The legislation would allow Medicare beneficiaries full access to the current services chiropractors are allowed to provide under their scope of practice as provided by individual state licensure requirements. Currently, Medicare arbitrarily limits coverage for just one chiropractic treatment, the spinal adjustment.
Dr. Erin Ducat, President of the ICS and owner of a chiropractic practice in Bloomingdale, and Dr. Cindy Howard, the Illinois delegate to the ACA House of Delegates and a practice owner in Orland Park, led the Illinois group in discussions with several members of the Illinois congressional delegation. Dr. Frank Vaught, owner of Health on Earth Wellness Center in the Chicago suburbs, Dr. Shawn Breton, owner of Breton Chiropractic in Mt. Prospect, ICS Executive Director Marc Abla, and ICS Director of Governmental Relations Ben Schwarm were also involved in various congressional meetings on Capitol Hill. Nine chiropractic students from National University of Health Sciences in Lombard were also in attendance and participated in the meetings. Prior to leaving for the Washington, D.C. trip, the students were prepped on the issues and advocacy protocols by the ICS.
The Illinois doctors, ICS staff, and students met with Congresspersons Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-8), Jonathan Jackson (D-1), Mary Miller (R-15), Mike Bost (R-12), Nikki Budzinski (D-13), and the staff of Eric Sorensen (D-17), Brad Schneider (D-10), and Delia Ramirez (D-3). Miller, Bost, and Schneider were co-sponsors of the bill last year and have indicated that they will sign on again this year.
With the groundwork laid out last year for the legislation, and with the opportunity to add additional co-sponsors this year, supporters are feeling positive about the prospect of moving the bill through the House Ways and Means Committee and getting a vote on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives. One of last year’s original co-sponsors of the bill, Rep. Jason Smith (R-MO), has been named the new chairman of the committee, which bodes well for a committee vote this year.
Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) has announced that he will re-introduce his Senate bill again this year and has sent a “Dear Colleague” letter to all members of the Senate urging them to sign on as a co-sponsor.
The ICS will be posting additional information on this issue once bills are introduced and bill numbers are assigned.