Thursday, April 23, 2009

Update on Legislation from Senate Bill 287

Thank you to all the patrons who let their voices be heard. Below is a response we received from the NCCA on the ruling on Senate Bill 287:

Dear NCCA Members & Non-Members:

A special conference committee comprised of a select group of Senators and House Representatives met Tuesday evening for a final discussion of Senate Bill 287.

As originally proposed, the bill would have increased chiropractic co-pays under the State Health Plan to upwards of $70, virtually eliminating the chiropractic benefit for all state employees and teachers. In the bill's final version that will now go into effect July 1, chiropractic co-pays were reduced to $45 (Standard Plan) and $55 (Basic Plan) -- ultimately saving state employees as much as $25 per chiropractic visit.

This reduction in co-pays is a direct result of your grassroots efforts and the tireless work of the NCCA legislative team. Led by Legislative Chairman Dr. Michael Estramonte, NCCA leaders spent countless hours lobbying for chiropractic patients, developing communication materials, breaking down research studies, walking the halls of the legislature and organizing a statewide grassroots campaign. We want to assure you that this effort was not taken lightly.

The NCCA is hesitant to claim the bill's final verdict as a true victory. Going into Tuesday's meeting, NCCA efforts had resulted in an amendment to the bill that would have set chiropractic co-pays to the same rate as primary care provider co-pays ($25/$35). That amendment, which had already passed through the entire House of Representatives, was a HUGE victory for chiropractic patients. However, due solely to the directive of the special conference committee, the amendment was replaced with the new $45 and $55 co-pays.

So what does all that mean? There are still hurdles present in our fight, but it is hardly time to give up or weaken our resolve.

The odds were most certainly against us. We are, after all, in the largest budgetary crisis in the state's history and, unfortunately, committee members were forced to view this bill in black and white and without the quality care typical of what we provide our patients. Not to mention the savings we provide to both these individuals and the state.

Several legislators have informed us that there is still an opportunity to rethink our $45/$55 co-pay provision. A study commission bill will be set up to examine the entire State Health Plan. It will be integral that chiropractic's history of cost-effectiveness be evaluated so we can re-visit our patients' excessively high co-pays in the next legislative session.

We can assure you that your NCCA will not give up working for you and your patients.

If you are not a member of the NCCA, please join today.

If you did not actively participate in the NCCA's grassroots campaign, please step up to the plate next time.

The NCCA is only as effective as its members make it.

House Bill 14, which will make chiropractic co-pays (except under the State Health Plan) equal to those of primary care co-pays, could come up for discussion any day.

Please familiarize yourself with the message that we have to convey to our legislators -- the message that explains how chiropractic care SAVES the healthcare system money. Please visit or click here for more information.

If you have questions about the final results of Senate Bill 287 or if you'd like to join the NCCA, please contact Headquarters at 919.832.0611.

NOTE: Although we feel the $45/$55 co-pay is too high, the following House Representatives should be recognized for going above and beyond in their support for our patients' rights to have a reasonable co-pay: Rep. Nelson Cole (Placed the original amendment), Rep. Cullie Tarleton, Rep. Marian McLawhorn, Rep. Bruce Goforth, Rep. Van Braxton, Rep. Pryor Gibson, Rep. William Wainwright, Rep. Beverly Earle


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