facing the profession today is…. I’m sure we could (and will in the next few months) come up with quite a list to choose from. I bet if you asked a random sampling of acupuncturists today, a significant percentage would say it is that most insurance and medicare doesn’t cover acupuncture. Certainly a lot of energy has been spent trying to change that, last week’s petition drive only one example.
If I had a magic wand and magically made acupuncture part of the medicare system and required that all insurance companies covered it, would it serve our profession? I’m not so sure, and there are lots of reasons why.
One consideration is that a significant percentage of people in the U.S. do not live or work a reasonable distance from an acupuncturist. If a program were put in place tomorrow that paid for acupuncture treatment, no questions asked, for every citizen, many, many folks would still go without. We still have six states without licensure. In most states with licensure there are large areas with no practitioners, and even in areas with acupuncturists there may not be enough to handle a large influx of new patients. (This is why it made sense for the ACA to default to existing large plans in a state — the system had already begun to address delivery.)
More on this soon. For now, ponder where people would get acupuncture if, all of a sudden, lots more people wanted it. Are there other issues that should be a higher priority?
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