March 10, 2009 — With the prospect of healthcare reform making headlines, chiropractic leaders from across the nation recently gathered in Washington, D.C., to meet with Congressional leaders and stress the importance of chiropractic’s role in effective patient care. The group came together for the American Chiropractic Association’s (ACA) National Chiropractic Legislative Conference (NCLC).
Nearly 600 DCs, students, and supporters converged on the nation’s capital Feb. 25-28 to hear speeches from government leaders, to receive advocacy education and training, as well as urge elected officials to support pro-chiropractic measures and provide patients with direct access to the essential services delivered by doctors of chiropractic.
Throughout NCLC, a recurring theme was the power of grassroots lobbying and the positive impact of patient voices. ACA leaders called for chiropractic offices nationwide to actively support the ChiroVoice initiative, the association’s national database of chiropractic patients and supporters. Launched in January 2009, ChiroVoice will allow ACA to mobilize coordinated campaigns to lobby Congress and the new administration on issues vital to patients’ access to chiropractic services.
Keynote speaker and famed political consultant Paul Begala echoed the importance of leveraging the influence of chiropractic patients and grassroots lobbying efforts. He advised attendees to be visible, vocal, and accessible to their Congressional representatives.
Known for his role on CNN’s “Situation Room” and other political programs, Begala predicted that major healthcare reform will happen during the Obama presidency — possibly in the first year. He commented that unlike in 1993, the insurance industry seems ready for real reform, which may speed the process on Capitol Hill.
Sharing similar sentiments was longtime chiropractic supporter Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), who noted that the prospect of true healthcare reform was music to his ears.
Several other members of Congress visited with NCLC attendees, including: Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Rep. Bob Filner (D-Calif.), Rep. Gene Green (D-Texas), Rep. Charlie Melancon, D-La., Rep. Michael Michaud (D-Maine), and Rep. Bill Posey (R-Fla.).
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org