The expansion of Medi-Cal made possible by the ACA has been successful in providing many of the most vulnerable populations in California health care coverage. As part of ensuring that more Californians have access to adequate health services, the California Legislature has been working towards restoring Medi-Cal Optional Benefits that were cut over a decade ago. The state most recently restored services such as optical services, podiatry, speech therapy, and incontinence creams and washes. However, chiropractic benefits have yet to be restored for the adult population of Medi-Cal beneficiaries.
Restoring the chiropractic Medi-Cal option comes at a low cost but yields cost savings and increased access to health providers, an important pain management alternative to combat the opioid epidemic. For a modest investment, forecasted to be less than $2 million annually, Californians will be able to access care by doctors of chiropractic. There have been several reports and studies that show that the coverage of chiropractic has yielded positive health outcomes and cost savings. For example, the CA Health Care Foundation found that alternative treatments to opioids, such as chiropractic care, have been found to play an important role in the delivery of cost-effective, non-drug services in both acute and chronic stages, as complementary to traditional treatments. The Chief Medical Officer for Partnership is quoted in the CHCF study saying “Since we launched the Managing Pain Safely Programs, we are saving more than $1 million per month in decreased opioid prescription claims”.