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Affordable Care Act Supports Nondiscrimination in Health Care

May 1, 2013

“During the debate over the Affordable Care Act, the CAM professions (particularly the chiropractors) lobbied in support of "nondiscrimination in health care," which means offering expanded access to non-MD providers. The law amends Section 2706 of the Public Health ServiceAct to say that health plans may not discriminate against any providers operating within their scope of practice. This doesn't require health insurers to contract with every available health-care provider; it does mean that insurers won't be able to exclude an entire category of providers from their network. This section of the Affordable Care Act will take effect on January 1, 2014.

“Obviously, Section 2706 could substantially alter the health-care marketplace for licensed complementary and alternative medicine practitioners. Actually, the effect is broader than that. This is a significant step in the direction of team-based care and increased consumer choice. During the debate on Capitol Hill, Section 2706 was supported by non-MD providers such as nurse anesthetists and optometrists, as well as the CAM disciplines. The America Medical Association (AMA) has mobilized to condemn and work to repeal this provision through active lobbying and testimony on Capitol Hill. A resolution condemning Section 2706 has won support at each annual AMA House of Delegates meeting since the law was passed.

“At the same time, many of the CAM disciplines are mobilizing their professional associations to lobby, on a state-by-state basis, supporting nondiscrimination in health care. Now the Integrative Healthcare Policy Consortium (IHPC) is stepping forward to develop a coordinated campaign supporting efforts throughout the country....” (Elaine Zablocki, Townsend Letter)

Note: The National Center for Homeopathy and The American Institute for Homeopathy represent homeopathy in IHPC.