House reintroduces bill expanding chiropractic coverage

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Bipartisan legislation to modernize Medicare coverage of chiropractic services was reintroduced last month in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act (H.R. 2654), introduced by Rep. Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.), would increase Medicare coverage of services provided by doctors of chiropractic within the full extent of their state licensure, enabling chiropractic patients to conveniently and safely access additional covered services that may be medically necessary. The change would also align Medicare with chiropractic coverage offered in many private health and Medicare Advantage plans.

The bill was originally introduced in 2019, and gained traction in the last congressional session, picking up over 90 cosponsors. Sixteen members have signed on as original cosponsors of H.R. 2654.

The American Chiropractic Association (ACA) released a statement supporting the reintroduction of the bill in Congress.

“We applaud Rep. Higgins and the cosponsors for their support of modernizing Medicare’s chiropractic coverage to meet the needs of today’s beneficiaries, who should not only be able to choose their provider but also access necessary covered services conveniently and safely during these challenging times,” said Michele Maiers, DC, MPH, PhD, president of the ACA, in the statement.

Since 1972, Medicare beneficiaries have been covered for only one chiropractic service, manual manipulation of the spine, requiring them to access additional medically necessary care from other providers or pay out of pocket for services from their chiropractor. Chiropractors are the only physician-level providers in the Medicare program whose services are restricted in this manner, the ACA said.

The ongoing opioid crisis heightens the need for non-pharmacological approaches to pain management, including chiropractic care. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends manual therapies in its pain management best practices report.