Congressional Battle Over Section 2706

Another great article from John Weeks [previously]:

Beltway Battle Over Patients’ Rights to Integrative Medicine and Health

As I mentioned last week, there’s already a bill in Congress to remove Section 2706 from the Affordable Care Act. In this article, John discusses both the background of this bill and the meaning of the Non-discrimination Provision, and why it’s so important for the ACA to provide patients with a choice of healthcare providers.

IHPC Updates

What has IHPC been up to?

Perhaps most importantly, IHPC has been involved with (and sometimes hosting) regional meetings with the Department of Health and Human Services. Although so far these meetings have only been in Region 9 (meeting in San Diego) & Region 10 (meeting in Seattle), IHPC is looking to create “regional nodes” made up representatives of integrative healthcare disciplines to further discussions about Section 2706 with the HHS Regional Directors [see region map here].

Deborah Senn presented on Section 2706 at the Washington meeting, which is where her video was created.

Furthermore, IHPC is striving to correct misinformation about Section 2706. The CCIIO (Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, one of the government arms helping to implement provisions of the ACA) recently wrote about Section 2706 on their website, but the language is both confusing and contradictory. Deborah Senn wrote them a letter in response, explaining the original intent of Section 2706 and pointing out the website’s inaccuracies.

There is already a movement to repeal Section 2706 with HR 2817. Not surprisingly, this legislation was written by a representative who is also an anesthesiologist, and it is supported by several medical associations, including the AMA.

On a state level, there is a lot of confusion as to what Section 2706 means. What does it allow? What does it not allow? Because this will be implemented on a state-by-state basis, education needs to start locally. IHPC is currently creating a list of talking points about Section 2706 to share with AMTA, one of their Partners for Health. From there, AMTA will share it with their state chapters in order for it to be used in future meetings with state officials and insurance commissioners.

The Affordable Care Act is a huge document, and even those working in the field aren’t familiar with all of the details. Case in point: I had a conversation with a local insurance director last week who had absolutely no idea that the plans they were offering on the exchange would be in violation of federal law if they excluded CAM services.

What can you, as an individual provider, do for health care reform? Talk it up. Let people know what’s going on. Tell your colleagues, of course – make sure everyone at your clinic or spa knows about Section 2706 and the upcoming changes. Tell your clients – let them know that having insurance coverage for their massages is just around the corner. Tell friends, family, any one you meet! It’s a good conversation starter.

The more excited people are for these changes, the more power we’ll have to implement them. A lot of this comes down to just getting the word out.

If you can, write. In just the past few weeks, I’ve read two articles from colleagues about massage and the Affordable Care Act. Even if you don’t have a large blog, even if you just want to link to or share what other people have written. Every effort, no matter how small, can help.