Chiropractic and Nationalized Healthcare

Put very simply, when the smoke clears, chiropractic and national health care will probably not be affiliated terms. Like the way of the dinosaur, 50’s music, and chiropractic coverage in Canada, it will be lost in antiquity, only to be recited to our grandchildren. Now, why would I say such things? Wouldn’t the chiropractic community be grateful to have their unique and effective form of alternative health contribution covered under a new plan? Sure we would. I am sure that even as you read this article, chiropractic associations, chiropractict activists, liaisons, and their lobbyists are all contacting all those involved on Capitol Hill. Everybody clamors for their entitlement of the economic pie. Oh, the chiropractor will probably garnish some initial support for extremely limited services at greatly reduced fee schedules. Yet when the funding disappears, chiropractic will simply be inked out with the stroke of a pen. Unfortunately, many chiropractors delude themselves that their congressional constituents have their back door. If I sound jaded, all one has to do is look at history, and realize that the writing is on the wall.

Now, I will be the first to admit that this isn’t about chiropractic, or chiropractors. This isn’t about politics. This is about maintaining reasonable health care for the masses. Healthcare in the United States biggest downfall is its accessibility. I believe that we need to find an answer that US citizens may receive quality medical treatment, and more importantly, the choice to have whatever care you choose, including chiropractic. This cannot become an end-justify-the-means answer. If it is, even if we win, we lose. Look at some of the provisions of the current administration’s health provisions of the 1,000 page proposal:

.Admission: your health care will be rationed. .All non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free healthcare services.

.Taxpayers will subsidize all union retiree and community organizer health plans.

.All private healthcare plans must conform to government rules to participate in a Healthcare Exchange.

.No company can sue the government for price-fixing. No “judicial review” is permitted against the plan.

.An employer MUST auto-enroll employees into the government-run public plan.

.Government mandates establishment of outcome-based measures: i.e., rationing.

Just a few of many provisions are spelled out, or at least mentioned. They outline more government control, and a general watering down of current healthcare measures. There is no improvement in medical care. Gatekeepers who have never seen the patient will be dictating both the quality and quantity of care. I find it curious that ranking government officials are exempt from this governmental plan in favor of their own. Will they still cover chiropractic for government officials? This indeed would bear irony if the insurance elite would become our elected officials. Though the scope of this article is to ascertain and predict the future of chiropractic, it is difficult to hold onto the promise of a bright future when the quality of health care in general is bleak.

Chiropractic, like conventional medical care needs to return to basics. We need a little less emphasis on dollars and cents, and a little more on humanity, compassion, and the power of the adjustment. However, economics dictate the absolute necessity of the financial health of caregivers so that they remain in practice. The great uniqueness of chiropractic is what makes it successful and viable. For example, a recent worker’s comp study and chronic work disability compared chiropractic to conventional care among 1,885 workers. Disability was more than twice as common in workers who didn’t see chiropractic. The economic impacts of lost work time alone is greatly significant. What we lose in a budget cut is greater than what we save, not to mention both the quantity and quality of life.

Finally, where we fail the most in this is that we are consumed with treatment costs reductions, and we disregard prevention and patient education. It begins with caring for our bodies and living proper lifestyles. It is unfortunate, but in the end we may have to individually take control of our lives and health again. Entitlements and watered down treatment aimed at saving a buck, may force us to reconsider what it is to be healthy.

Perhaps, chiropractic will be that beacon of health, and rise from the ashes of the bean-counters!