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Chiropractors Excluded from Limited Right to Contract Privately Under Recently Enacted Medicare Bill

February 19, 2004

In 1998 we reported that Section 45071 of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 granted the limited legal right to contract privately with Medicare participants to only two types of medical providers: doctors of medicine and doctors of osteopathy. Other types of doctors were denied that right, including dentists, chiropractors, optometrists, and podiatrists.

The recently enacted Medicare reform added dentists, optometrists, and podiatrists to the list of providers who may sign private contracts with seniors. But chiropractors were left off the list! (See H.R. 1: Title VI, Subtitle A, Sec. 603.)

What impact will this have on the chiropractic profession and seniors?

  1. It will keep chiropractors under the thumb of Medicare regulators regarding treatment of and payment decisions by seniors.

  2. It will deny seniors the ability to have truly confidential patient-provider relationships with the chiropractors of their choice.

1 The Section 4507 provision says that any doctor who accepts private payment from a senior (for a Medicare-covered service) must stop seeing all Medicare patients for two years.

This article was originally published in the November/December 2003 issue of Health Freedom Watch.