The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3654) was introduced to the 116th Congress on July 9, 2019, by Congressman Brian Higgins and Congressman Tom Reed of New York. The proposed bill is intended to amend title XVIII of the Social Security Act that was enacted in 1965.
Congressman Higgins is quoted,
“35 million Americans receive chiropractic care each year, and seniors in the Medicare program should have the option of continuing the same drug-free pain management options that they prefer through their Medicare coverage. This legislation would accomplish that.”
Title XVIII of the Social Security Act
Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, enacted in 1965, established regulations for the Medicaid program. Medicaid provides funding for medical and health-related services for persons with limited income. The program mainly covers people with disabilities, the elderly, pregnant women, and adults with dependents.
About The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3654)
The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3654) has 38 co-sponsors at this time and the American Chiropractic Association endorses it. The bill has also gained endorsements from other respective entities such as ChiroCongress. The ACA website summarizes the proposed bill below:
- Defines a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) as a “physician” within the Medicare program.
- Provides patient access to all Medicare-covered benefits allowable under a chiropractor’s state licensure. Since 1972, Medicare beneficiaries have been covered for only one chiropractic service—manual manipulation of the spine.
- Requires that DCs complete a documentation webinar.
- Does not seek to expand services.
For the full text of the proposed legislation, please visit Congress.gov.
Challenges of the Bill Passing
There is optimism about the prospect of this bill passing but there is also reason to be concerned it may not. First, there is another similar proposed bill in Congress similar to H.R. 3654; The Chiropractors Equity Act of 2019 (H.R. 2883). It was introduced by Congresswoman Jackie Walorski of Indiana in May of 2019. This bill is supported by the International Chiropractor’s Association who is actively lobbying against H.R. 3654.
There is also a possibility it could suffer the same fate as H.R. 7157 – Chiropractic Patients’ Freedom of Choice Act of 2018 that sought to expand the Medicare coverage of chiropractic services to include all services provided by chiropractors, rather than only subluxation corrections through manual manipulation of the spine. It was introduced to the 115th Congress on November 16, 2017, and failed because it was not enacted by the end of the session on January 3, 2019.
H.R. 3654 has until January 3, 2021, when the 116th Congress ends to be passed by both the House and the Senate, be signed by the President and enacted into law. It is a lengthy process and according to Skopos Labs, has only a 3% chance of being enacted.
What You Can Do
The ACA encourages chiropractors, patients, and advocates of chiropractic services to support the bill by contacting your local Members of Congress. Visit the ACA’s website for more information on how to support this bill.
Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness Supports the Bill
Dr. Goldman believes that patients deserve a non-surgical, drug-free, pain management and treatment option that is affordable with appropriate services covered by Medicaid. Total Chiropractic Care and Wellness supports The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3654) and hopes you will help the cause by letting your local Congressman know you support this bill.