Back in March last year at the Massage Therapy Foundation (MTF) research conference in Boston, Janet Kahn PhD alerted the audience to a little known section of the Affordable Healthcare Act (2010). Section 2706 of the Act protects against discrimination of any type of licensed or state certified health care provider, including chiropractic, acupuncture, naturopathy, and massage therapy.
The Section States
”(a) PROVIDERS.-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 health care provider who is acting within the scope of that provider’s license or certification under applicable State law.”
Understandably, I was excited because this section allows some opportunities for CAM providers to work with insurance companies. The Affordable Care patient has been given the right to choose their treatment. On the downside, there is the potential for a standoff between the existing powerful health system based on pharmaceuticals and medical procedures and that of the patient-centered, mostly low-technology healthcare provided by complementary and alternative medicine. Oh, and there’s the paperwork too.
U.S. Health Standings in the 21st Century
In the Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2013 report, ‘U.S. Health in International Perspective: Shorter Lives, Poorer Health’, the US was rated along with 16 other high-income countries for various aspects of healthcare. The US ranked worse than most of the other 16 countries in most categories, at the same time paying twice as much. Quote: “The tragedy is not that the United States is losing a contest with other countries but that Americans are dying and suffering from illness and injury at rates that are demonstrably unnecessary”.
Healthcare reform, including non-discrimination of state registered health providers, may help address this discrepancy by offering quality, accessible, affordable care that can also complement or integrate with allopathic medicine.