On May 22, 2003 the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that included a provision to step up the timeframe of the new chiropractic benefit in the Department of Defense health care system. This means that, if implemented, chiropractic care will be available to the US armed forces sooner than originally planned. The bill has gone to the Senate and is in the process of negotiations between the two houses.
This bill with the accelerated timetable is aimed at full implementation of the chiropractic program by Oct. 1, 2005. Just prior to the bill’s passage, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), and the chairman of the Total Force Subcommittee, Rep. John McHugh (R-NY), wrote to every member of Congress to urge support for passage of the accelerated bill. In their joint statement they said, “HR 1588 (the bill) presents an array of initiatives that improves the quality of the world wide health care benefit for the men and women of our armed forces (whether active, National Guard or Reserve) for their families and for retirees and their families.”
There are still many hurdles and steps that have to be overcome for this benefit to be enacted. There are forces within the military bureaucracy that are opposed to the inclusion of chiropractic in the military. However, with the benefit of having pilot studies that show the cost effectiveness of chiropractic, (click here for that story) and with the ongoing demand for chiropractic from military personnel, it is inevitable that chiropractic will eventually be fully included in care to the military.