Representatives Steube, Higgins, Alford, and Larson Join Senators Blumenthal and Cramer to Introduce The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act
WASHINGTON — U.S. Representatives Greg Steube (R-Fla.), Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), Mark Alford (R-Mo.), and John B. Larson (D-Conn.) today introduced legislation in the U.S. House with 20 bipartisan cosponsors to provide Medicare coverage for all physicians’ services furnished by doctors of chiropractic care. U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) and Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.) introduced companion legislation today in the U.S. Senate. The Senate companion bill is cosponsored by U.S. Senators Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), John Hoeven (R-N.D.), Jon Tester (D-Mont.), and Steve Daines (R-Mont.).
This bipartisan and bicameral legislation will ensure Medicare patients have access to chiropractic care as a non-drug alternative for pain management.
“Medicare enrollment in my district has grown every year in the past decade. The 4.8 million Floridians enrolled in Medicare deserve access to all chiropractic services without burdensome red tape. I’m glad to introduce legislation that will provide Medicare beneficiaries with more flexibility in their treatment options and will help lower the risk of individuals turning to opioids for pain management,” said Rep. Steube.
“Millions of Americans use chiropractic care every year,” said Rep. Higgins. “Many rely on chiropractic adjustments as part of their pain management plan. This legislation will ensure that all seniors on Medicare, especially those who suffer from chronic pain, have access to this treatment.”
“Chiropractic medicine plays a vital role in many Missourians’ pain management plan. Those individuals should not be burdened by the government to use opioid drugs to treat their ailments. The current hurdles Medicare presents many are unacceptable and must be modified immediately,” said Rep. Alford. “This legislation is a vital first step to ensure individuals receive the pain management they deserve. I am proud to join my colleagues in its introduction.”
“I am thrilled to join my colleagues to introduce this legislation that will streamline the process for our nation’s seniors seeking chiropractic care,” said Rep. Larson. “Reducing barriers to care makes it easier for seniors to live happy, healthy lives, and this bill would do just that!”
“Expanding Medicare coverage to chiropractic services will provide seniors with access to affordable, quality care,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Outdated regulations and red tape have blocked beneficiaries living with chronic pain and discomfort from seeking these helpful services – which often serve as a substitute to potentially addictive opioids. Our bipartisan legislation puts patients first – ensuring seniors enrolled in Medicare receive the treatment they need and deserve.”
“Current Medicare restrictions prevent chiropractors from offering a full scope of treatments or ordering diagnostic services for those who need them,” said Senator Cramer. “By reducing these barriers and expanding access to health care services for rural community residents, especially our senior citizens, we can help keep Americans healthy and cared for while preserving non-drug treatment options.”
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act is supported by the American Chiropractic Association.
“On behalf of the chiropractic profession and the millions of patients it serves, we thank the Representatives and Senators for their leadership in reintroducing the Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act. The strong bipartisan support for this bill reflects the undeniable need of Medicare beneficiaries to have increased coverage and access to non-drug options for pain and other musculoskeletal conditions in the wake of the ongoing opioid crisis,” said Michael Martin, DC, president of the American Chiropractic Association.
This legislation provides a path for Medicare recipients towards pain management without relying on prescriptions, such as opioids. Among older Medicare beneficiaries with spinal pain, the use of chiropractic care is associated with significantly lower risk of filling an opioid prescription.
Medicare first began providing beneficiaries access to chiropractic care in 1972. Since then, Medicare has only been able to reimburse services considered “medically necessary” and include burdensome red tape requirements.
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act removes obstacles imposed on Medicare recipients that aren’t required by private insurers, thus expanding Medicare coverage to include access to all chiropractic care. Medicare does not currently allow for chiropractic practices like joint mobilization, physiological therapies, soft tissue massage techniques, and other treatments, which are covered by private sector health coverage plans and other federal health delivery systems like the Department of Veterans Affairs. This legislation will bring Medicare chiropractic coverage more in line with services provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Defense, the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program, and private health insurance coverage.