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47 Members of Congress Support Consumers’ Right to Choose Their Health Practitioners

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The legislators have sent House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., a letter proposing a ban on discrimination against integrative MDs, DOs, chiropractors and other well-trained and credentialed healthcare providers who have not previously been discriminated against under federal law. If discrimination is not forbidden, conventional licensed practitioners will try to use federal law, as they have used state law, to restrict competition from alternative and integrative sources.

The letter, dated September 14, 2009, urged that any healthcare reform legislation passed include “a provider non-discrimination provision at the federal level, and make it applicable to all plans.” Although the letter does not mention any particular healthcare disciplines, it was supported by the American Chiropractic Association. The association notes that “while ACA remains focused on many chiropractic-specific legislative initiatives, there are certainly some areas where the profession shares concerns with a larger body of health care providers.” Rep. Bruce Braley, D-Iowa, and Rep. Martin Heinrich, D-N.M., led the drafting of the letter, which focuses on the importance of patients’ being able to choose the type of healthcare provider who will treat them. It also stresses the need to prevent insurance plans from discriminating against entire classes of healthcare providers. A third focus is on maintaining any hard-won rights providers have gained at the state level.

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