H.R. 1610, The Chiropractic Medicare Coverage Modernization Act, was reintroduced by Reps. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Brian Higgins (D-N.Y.) on March 14, 2023. H.R. 1610 would allow Medicare beneficiaries access to the chiropractic profession’s broad-based, non-drug approach to pain management, which includes manual manipulation of the spine and extremities, evaluation and management services, diagnostic imaging and utilization of other non-drug approaches that have become an important strategy in national efforts to stem the epidemic of prescription opioid overuse and abuse.
To best serve their senior patients, chiropractic physicians must be allowed to practice and be reimbursed to the fullest extent of their licensure, training and competencies. Since the chiropractic profession was first included in Medicare in 1972, Doctors of Chiropractic (DC) and their patients have been burdened by arbitrary limitations that lack any scientific or sound policy justification. Research demonstrating positive patient outcomes and cost-effectiveness resulting from chiropractic care has advanced private coverage and state licensure to meet patient needs.
The federal Medicare program, which serves as a model for private insurance plans, currently serves more than 60 million individuals. Various projections forecast the number of people age 65 or older increasing by about one-third over the next decade. Chiropractic inclusion in Medicare was established in 1972 and has seen little change since then, other than the elimination of the X-ray requirement in 1997.