The Affordable Care Act and Acupuncture
It was a difficult decision for me to accept insurance at my office. Many complementary and alternative healthcare providers simply take cash. Frankly, it was a three-month nightmare before my fabulous biller Debi took the baton. I felt that the tide was changing, however, and that by accepting insurance at Wilder Health, I would be not only making acupuncture accessible to people who have insurance, but also advancing my profession by taking a place at the table.
Then the chaos over Obamacare began and many felt that our country was going in the wrong direction. The Supreme Court upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a 5-4 ruling. Each state was left to decide what was going to be covered. Since Governor Jerry Brown legalized acupuncture during his first term in the 1970s, it was fitting that he added acupuncture when he included it in Californian’s health care package.
Although there is a lot of controversy over the fact that the government is regulating people’s sacred right to choose what they do with their money. I don’t hear any big insurance companies complaining. These musings aside, I choose to focus on the positive. In California, 38 million people now have greater access to acupuncture. California is often a trendsetter for the rest of the country. Who knows what might come out of this.
Acupuncture is increasingly on the state and national radar. That is great to see, since it has been safely practiced for 5,000 some odd years without any dangerous side effects. As part of the Essential Health Benefits (EHB) for California, it fits into many categories including: maternity, mental health, rehabilitative, preventative wellness, chronic disease management and pediatrics.
Acupuncture is still not recognized by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics which makes it a problem when trying to be included as part of the health care coverage for federal workers and within Medicare. If you feel like you or someone you know has experienced less pain and higher quality of life from receiving acupuncture and you want more seniors in our community enjoying this benefit, consider giving our congressman, Doug LaMalfa, a call at (202) 225-3076.