"NCLC 2004 was the most successful and important public policy program in the history of the chiropractic profession," observed ACA President Donald Krippendorf, DC. "ACA members, including hundreds of chiropractic students, were heard loud and clear on Capitol Hill, providing a big boost to pro-chiropractic legislation now before Congress."
Several issues key to the future of chiropractic were discussed at this year's meeting, including implementation of the Medicare chiropractic demonstration project; restoration of the Department of Defense's Chiropractic Advisory Panel; extension of chiropractic care to retired military personnel, along with their beneficiaries and survivors; fairness for doctors of chiropractic in the National Health Service Corps; and implementation of chiropractic benefits for veterans, as approved by Congress.
More than a dozen members of Congress attended the NCLC and either spoke to attendees or were honored for their contributions to chiropractic. Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tommy Thompson made his third appearance at an NCLC meeting; he congratulated chiropractors for their ability to treat Americans "with dignity and [for] giving them a choice and the opportunity to improve their quality of health." Sec. Thompson also spoke about his father, who was injured after falling from a horse, and related that his father's quality of life "would not have been great" without chiropractic care.
Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL) thanked the DCs in attendance for their work with children. "A chiropractor is someone who can get people well without giving them a pill," Rep. Hastert said. He also praised the efforts of Dr. William Morgan,1 who practices at the Bethesda National Naval Medical Center and the Office of the Attending Physician at the U.S. Capitol, and who was named the ACA's 2003 Chiropractor of the Year: "As the word gets around, [Dr. Morgan's] office is getting busier and busier," noted Rep. Hastert.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley was honored by the ACA for his efforts to ensure that senior citizens have access to the full scope of Medicare-covered services that can be provided by a doctor of chiropractic. Sen. Grassley was one of the sponsors of a recently enacted pilot program that will test the benefits of expanded access to chiropractic under Medicare.
Other members of Congress who spoke at the 2004 NCLC included Sens. Arlen Specter (PA), Jim Talent (KS), Norm Coleman (MN), Jim Bunning (KY) and Tom Harkin (IA), and Reps. Phil English (PA), Xavier Becerra (CA), David Weldon (FL), Jim McCrery (LA), Earl Pomeroy (ND), Steny Hoyer (MD) and Collin Peterson (MN). Senators Ben Nelson (NE) and Daniel Akaka (HI), and Reps. Jim Langevin (RI), Howard Coble (NC) and Joe Wilson (SC), were honored guests at NCLC events.
Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Principi was scheduled to attend this year's conference, but found himself dispatched to Macedonia at the last minute. In his stead, Sec. Principi sent his chief of staff, Nora Egan, who announced that an official report regarding the "very comprehensive recommendations" on chiropractic submitted by the Veterans Affairs Chiropractic Advisory Committee would be published in the near future.
- For more information, see "Spotlight on William Morgan, DC" in the March 11 issue. Available online at www.chiroweb.com/archives/22/06/05.html.