July 23, 2010 — The National Association of Chiropractic Attorneys (NACA) announced it has issued a proclamation recognizing “the historic and profoundly positive legal ramifications for the chiropractic profession and the patient community it serves in Section 2706, ‘Non-Discrimination in Health Care,’ recently enacted as part of the federal ‘Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.’”
The provider nondiscrimination provision reads in part: “A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any healthcare provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”
The provision has long been championed by the American Chiropractic Association (ACA) and members of the Chiropractic Summit. It was achieved primarily due to collaboration with Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and help from other key players such as Sen. Chris Dodd (D-Conn.).
Although he did not support the final bill overall, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) also lent his support for the advancement of the nondiscrimination provision. ACA will continue to fight for proper implementation during the regulatory process.
“It is important to recognize this provision as a historic first for the chiropractic profession. We now have a federal law applicable to ERISA plans that makes it against the law for insurance companies to discriminate against doctors of chiropractic and other providers relative to their participation and coverage in health plans,” said NACA Vice President Mike Schroeder. “While there is still much work to be done in the regulatory process, we are encouraged by the fact that Congress has finally acted to end provider discrimination based on one’s license.”
It is also important to note that Section 2706, and its assurance of nondiscrimination in terms of participation and coverage, effectively requires that doctors of chiropractic be allowed to provide any “essential benefit” within their scope of practice. This will prove to be a particularly significant victory as the essential benefits package under the healthcare reform law is defined over the next couple of years.
“As significant as Section 2706 is to the chiropractic profession, it is possible to lose ground during the regulatory drafting process,” said NACA President Paul Lambert. “NACA strongly encourages all segments of the chiropractic profession to support ACA in its efforts to ensure that the regulations enacted under Section 2706 properly reflect the patient protections intended in the statute.”
To support the work being done to ensure the proper implementation of the provider nondiscrimination provision, visit the CHAMP website, and encourage chiropractic patients to join ChiroVoice. In addition, state chiropractic associations can also adopt resolutions recognizing the importance of Section 2706.
Source: American Chiropractic Association, www.acatoday.org