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Chiropractic Legislation Introduced Into US Congress

As reported in the March 9, 2001 PRNewswire, Representative Wes Watkins, of Oklahoma, has introduced legislation that would require Medicare to reimburse doctors of chiropractic for the full scope of services they are licensed to provide under state law. The bill has been named the "Chiropractic Patients' Freedom of Choice Act." Currently US Medicare only pays for what they term, "manual manipulation of the spine to correct a subluxation." This means that under the current system any examination or x-ray procedures used in a chiropractic office are not covered.

"This situation has deprived both beneficiaries and the program itself of the health benefits and cost savings that might result from full and open competition between doctors of chiropractic and other Medicare providers,'' said American Chiropractic Association President Dr. James A. Mertz. "Numerous research and actuarial studies all point to the fact that chiropractic services could save the Medicare program billions of dollars each year.''

According to the bill, the proposed legislation would not add or require coverage of any new services under the Medicare program. It would simply provide beneficiaries access to currently covered Medicare services when performed by doctors of chiropractic.