Although some of the debate is still being played out in court, chiropractors are winning in the legislative arena in Lone Star State. Legislation has been introduced in the Texas statehouse that would allow chiropractors to make limited diagnosis on patients. The legislation essentially expands the definition of chiropractic medicine in the state to include diagnosing the spine and muscle system.
JC Smith, MA, DC, a Georgia chiropractor who has been in practice for 33 years, supports the Texas legislation. He has been an outspoken critic of the medical establishment, which he says has unfairly labeled chiropractors as second rate, with patients being the losers. Smith is author of The Medical War Against Chiropractors, a book that traces historic obstacles faced by chiropractors in a medical doctor-dominated healthcare world.
He acknowledges that chiropractors won a big victory with the passage of the PPACA. Smith and others point to Section 2706 of the act, the so-called non-discrimination clause. It could be a potential opening for chiropractors to get equal consideration in reimbursement as physicians, he says.
Specifically, Section 2706 of the PPACA prevents health insurance plans from excluding a range of integrative health practitioners from coverage, based on licensure. That could include chiropractors and others such as massage therapists or midwives.
"It's a real blessing for us, the non-discrimination clause, that finally gives the freedom of choice" to insurers, Smith says, referring to the possible "choice" of greater reimbursement.
AMA opposes expansion of coverage
Smith noted, however, that the American Medical Association wasn't exactly pleased with the Section 2706 provision within the PPACA. "What does the AMA do?" Smith asked. "Its House of Delegates passed a resolution to repeal it."