AANP’s State and Federal Affairs Committee has affirmed five advocacy priorities for the organization in 2015. They are:
Support for state licensure and scope expansion
Full implementation of Section 2706 (the “non-discrimination” provision of the Affordable Care Act) in licensed states
Introduction of legislation to include NDs in Medicare
Inclusion of NDs in the VA health care system
Support for the continued availability of safely compounded medications
With Republicans taking over control of the House and Senate, the political complexion is significantly different than it was before the election. Support for naturopathic medicine, however, ought to be independent of party. Many of our strongest supporters are indeed conservative, even libertarian.
Licensure and scope expansion efforts will proceed, irrespective of which party controls a given state legislature. The push for implementation of Section 2706 will continue unabated, with many of the state associations making significant progress as they meet with state insurance officials and insurers. (On the federal level, the US Department of Health and Human Service’s review of 2706 implementation – and the possibility that HHS will issue new and more helpful guidance – is independent of who controls Congress.) While a GOP-led Congress is unlikely to act on a bill including NDs in Medicare, there is no reason such a bill cannot be introduced and efforts made to educate legislators on the value and need. The aim of bringing NDs into the VA health care system can be accomplished without legislation and will continue to be pursued (see story below). Finally, the leadership of Republicans in Congress will make it more likely that the FDA’s intent to restrict the sale of compounded medications can be reined in.
Any shift in the political landscape brings with it opportunities commensurate with the challenges. With the help of committed NDs and NDs-to-be across the country, AANP will craft a strategy to take advantage of those opportunities and educate GOP lawmakers on the value of policies and provisions that advance naturopathic medicine.