June 2011: Ongoing Work on Health-Care Reform

By Karen Howard, Executive Director

Implementation of health-care reform is becoming increasingly complicated, with a myriad of players who have varying degrees of impact on how NDs will or will not gain recognition. Your states are actively working on implementation of state exchanges (or pursuing law suits in some cases), and the federal government is now issuing proposed regulations for comment. In addition, private sector entities including the National Association of Insurance Commissions and the National Committee on Quality Assurance are playing central roles in developing portions of reform. The AANP is working with its State Affiliates to encourage pursuit of our defined advocacy campaigns to impact favorably outcomes relating to ensuring consumer access to naturopathic medicine – especially given the shortage of primary care providers across the country. Recent advocacy efforts designed to engage our states follow:

NCQA. What will it take for insurers to cover naturopathic medical services? In light of state implementation of health-care reform, the role of the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) and its current position not to credential naturopathic physicians has become critical. The AANP is activating all our licensed states to be proactive and seek support from legislative champions and regulators. Click here to read the AANP’s letter to the NCQA President.
Medicaid. Every Governor in the country is concerned with the rising cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries. A recent letter from Congressional leaders Representative Fred Upton (Chair, House Committee on Energy and Commerce) and Senator Orrin Hatch (Chair, Senate Committee on Finance) has been sent to Governors with a solicitation for Medicaid reform proposals. This effort, organized with the National Governors Association, presents an opening for your State Affiliate leaders to reach out to their Governors and let them know the impact of naturopathic medicine on reducing the primary care physician shortage and the burden of chronic care. 
Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Medicare. While it is true that NDs are not eligible to be reimbursed by Medicare, regulators are establishing new guidelines that could have far-reaching impact on how health-care services are provided to all citizens. The AANP elected to respond to this monstrous, 2000+ page proposed regulation and take the opportunity to expand awareness of naturopathic medicine. Click here to read our submission.