National Health Care Reform Passes
The US House of Representatives voted last evening to pass the Senate version of health care reform. Although the timelines and some particulars are still being reviewed, there are some very key provisions in the bill that affect the chiropractic profession directly.
Political philosophy aside, the most significant provision of the bill affecting the chiropractic profession deals with non-discrimination language. The American Chiropractic Association worked tirelessly to ensure the reform bill contained non-discrimination language. In fact, the Illinois Chiropractic Society was in Washington DC a few weeks ago, lobbying on your behalf for the inclusion of non-discrimination language in healthcare reform.
We are pleased to inform you that the passed legislation states in Section 2706, “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 healthcare provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”
This critical non-discrimination language applied to ERISA plans, non ERISA group plans, and individual health plans. As many of you are aware, ERISA discrimination problems have long been a significant problem for the profession. I have had many discussions over the years with our members who struggle with discriminatory plans, and we believe this provision is incredibly significant.
There were other provisions within the bill that dealt with chiropractic inclusion in interdisciplinary community health care teams and a National Health Care Workforce Commission. Parity in these areas was also very important for the profession.
For those unfamiliar with the process of what happened regarding this health care reform legislation:
- The Senate passed legislation and sent the bill to the House for a vote,
- The House determined there were changes that needed to be made before ultimate passage,
- A second bill was drafted by the House to address the changes to the Senate version of Health Care Reform,
- The House passed the Senate version of the legislation (see above) and sent the bill to the President for enactment,
- The president agreed to issue an Executive Order preventing federal fund usage for abortions,
- The House passed the second bill (see 3) with the changes they wanted to see addressed in the Senate version that passed (see 4) and sent the second piece to the Senate for a vote (Note: none of these changes affect the three pro-chiropractic provisions mentioned above), and
- There will now be an interpretation process known as Administrative Procedures and a slow process of implementation based on specific enactment dates.
I understand that many times we do not want to know the political progressions or the behind the scenes process, but this information is important to understand where things go from here.
The Illinois Chiropractic Society will continue to keep you informed of the ongoing process including the implementation timeline, the passage of the second “reconciliation package”, and the Code of Federal Regulations process.