“This legislation supports the initiative to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse…”
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act, currently under review in the U.S. Congress to expand Medicare access to chiropractic care, received a boost on Nov. 24, 2020, when Congresswoman Elise Stefanik (NY-R) announced her co-sponsorship of the legislation.
“Chiropractic care has become an important pain management strategy throughout the [New York] North Country and the United States,” she said. “This legislation supports the initiative to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse by encouraging pain management methods through chiropractic therapies. The North Country is home to a number of local chiropractic practices and also to many constituents who utilize Medicare.”
The legislation would allow patients covered under Medicare to access chiropractic approaches to pain management, which could include joint mobilization, physiological therapies and soft tissue management techniques.
Stefanik was first elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2014, making her at age 30 the youngest woman ever elected to Congress at the time. In 2017 she co-sponsored the controversial Preserving Employee Wellness Programs Act (H.R. 1313) which would have allowed companies to require employees to undergo genetic testing or risk paying a penalty of thousands of dollars, and would have let employers see the genetic testing results along with other health information. Also in 2017 she voted for the Championing Healthy Kids Act, which sought to provide a five-year extension to the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act was originally sponsored by Representative Brian Higgins (NY-D), and in July of last year the bill was introduced in the House and referred to the Subcommittee on Health after first being referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce and the Committee on Ways and Means.
The Findings and Statement of Purpose for the bill reads:
“In 1972, coverage was established under the Medicare program for beneficiaries to receive chiropractic care.
(2) Unfortunately, the antiquated statute restricts beneficiaries to one service in a chiropractic clinic and Medicare chiropractic coverage has not kept up with private sector coverage and other federal health delivery systems.
(3) Today, due to positive evidence-based outcomes and cost effectiveness of the services provided by doctors of chiropractic, private coverage for chiropractic services has evolved and State licensure for chiropractors has advanced to meet patient needs and health outcomes.
(4) This Act would bring Medicare chiropractic coverage more in line with that provided with the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and private health insurance coverage.”
For additional information on the bill go to congress.gov/bill/116th-congress/house-bill/3654/text.