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Manitoba Government Reverses Discriminatory Policy on Chiropractic Care for Children

In a victory for children and health freedom of choice, the government of Manitoba Canada has reversed itself with regards to payment for chiropractic care for children. A report in the July 15, 2002 issue of the International Chiropractors Association's (ICA) "Chiropractic News Service", started by saying, "In a highly significant and uncharacteristic move, the Provincial Government of Manitoba has reversed an earlier decision that denied payment for chiropractic services to anyone under the age of nineteen. The reversal of the controversial policy signals an important victory for chiropractic in that the completely unsupportable and prejudicial restriction of reimbursement for younger patients has been rescinded."

The Information Services Division of the Manitoba government released the following notice on July 12th: "MANITOBA GOVERNMENT SIGNS LONG-TERM AGREEMENT WITH CHIROPRACTORS; COMMISSION CREATED. The Manitoba government today announced it has reached an agreement with the Manitoba Chiropractors' Association that provides coverage to all Manitobans while achieving significant savings. Retroactive to July 1, 2002, Manitoba Health will specifically provide coverage for Manitobans under 19 years of age..."

In an attempt to save money the government of Manitoba had stopped all payments for chiropractic care for anyone under the age of 19. This was done without any studies that showed that this move would save any money at all. Chiropractors in that area argued that the discontinuation of chiropractic benefits increased overall health care costs by forcing those not covered for chiropractic to seek more expensive medical care, when chiropractic could more affordably do the job.

"The battle for full inclusion and full compensation in Manitoba is far from over and the need to be proactive and determined will continue," said Dr. Daniel Schaeffer, the ICA representative for Manitoba. Doctors of chiropractic and Manitoba chiropractic patients in the tens of thousands mounted a powerfully resonating campaign to restore the chiropractic cuts since the announcement of the new policy some months ago. "Our grass-roots campaign has had a major impact on the government and should stand as a very important lesson to other jurisdictions that such policies can and will be reversed if opposed with dignity and resolve," Dr. Schaeffer concluded.