FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 9, 2023
Graeme Crews (Chu), (202) 597-2923
Reagan McCarthy (Fitzpatrick)
Reps. Chu, Fitzpatrick Introduce Bipartisan Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, Reps. Judy Chu (CA-28) and Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) introduced the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act of 2023. The Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act would increase access to acupuncture in our healthcare system by ensuring that licensed acupuncturists can participate as providers in Medicare so that seniors have this effective treatment option available to them.
Federal research has concluded that acupuncture can be an effective treatment and a safe non-drug alternative for the millions of Americans experiencing chronic pain and recovery from substance abuse. This has been reflected in federal law: the Affordable Care Act helped to increase access by allowing states to cover acupuncture in plans on state health exchanges, and Medicare has already acknowledged the value of acupuncture by issuing a National Coverage Determination for chronic lower back pain. However, licensed acupuncturists are still prohibited from being Medicare providers.
“Everyone deserves the ability to control their own healthcare decisions, including access to traditional Asian medicine, which has been successful at treating a range of health problems for thousands of years,” said Rep. Chu. “Acupuncture treatment should be available to all Americans, and this bill moves us closer to this goal by connecting more Americans to the care they need, and ensuring we are giving our seniors on Medicare access to all available treatment options.”
“Acupuncture is proven to be effective for pain relief and management, and seniors who rely on Medicare benefits must be able to access these services,” said Rep. Fitzpatrick. “I am proud to join Rep. Chu in introducing the bipartisan Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act to ensure that seniors have readily available access to all treatment options.”
“On behalf of the American Alliance for Acupuncture, a nationwide organization that has been dedicated to serving the acupuncture society and public communities for over 30 years, we applaud Representatives Chu and Fitzpatrick for introducing the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act,” said Dr. Michelle Lau, President of American Alliance of Acupuncture. “This bill will provide millions of Americans with access to acupuncture treatments and make a difference for so many seniors living with chronic pain.”
“Medicare beneficiaries are projected to increase from 63 to 80 million in the next seven years, so this bill is critical in removing barriers to the increasing demand for a safe, non-pharmacological option to pain and improved heath. The ASA applauds Representative Judy Chu, Representative Brian Fitzpatrick, and all involved for understanding the need to solve the opioid crisis while also decreasing healthcare costs and improving long-term outcomes,” said Olivia Hsu Friedman, DACM, L.Ac., ASA Chair.
“Obtaining Medicare-provider status for acupuncturists is a priority for the ASA and the NCCAOM and we are grateful to Representatives Judy Chu and Brian Fitzpatrick for championing this bill. This recognition would enable qualified acupuncturists to improve the health and quality of life of so many Senior Citizens and their families,” said Mina Larson, M.S., MBA, NCCAOM CEO.
“Our seniors deserve affordable access to non-pharmacological pain relief provided by acupuncturists and billed through Medicare,” said Sarah Hart, L.Ac., California State Oriental Medicine Association (CSOMA) President. “CSOMA fully supports expanding access to acupuncture within the healthcare delivery system and thanks Reps. Judy Chu and Brian Fitzpatrick for introducing the Acupuncture for Our Seniors Act.”
Click here to read the bill text in full.