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Dynamic Chiropractic – September 23, 2009, Vol. 27, Issue 20

Help the Unfortunate: Why Chiropractors Should Care About Health Care Reform

By Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher

I'm convinced that disease actually has a purpose, one that may be less obvious to most of your patients: Actually, you may think the same way I do; in fact, you may even share it with your patients from time to time.

The purpose of disease is to remind us to appreciate our health. Now of course, that doesn't mean disease is ever a good thing, but it does mean that good health - and the effort and investment it takes to maintain it- should be appreciated and prioritized.

I admit it. As a lifetime chiropractic patient, I have always taken my excellent health (said with all modesty) for granted. In my 54 years, I have had no serious illnesses, no hospital stays, taken almost no prescription drugs and almost never have headaches. I enjoy an extremely active lifestyle and have nothing to report on the standard health questionnaire. I have truly been blessed.

Our family has been participating in health savings accounts (HSAs) almost since their inception. We spend the majority of the money from our HSA on chiropractic and have always had a large surplus since the first day, despite the fact that we have an 8-year-old and a 10-year-old, both of whom are working their way through the gashes and stitches that seem to accompany every child during their formative years.

With all that being said, when it comes to much of the current health care debate, I have to admit that it is hard to feel personally engaged. While we are working with the Foundation for Chiropractic Progress and the Chiropractic Summit to ensure that chiropractic is recognized and included in whatever health care reform comes, personally, I am content to let chiropractic continue to provide our family with the health and wellness we have enjoyed for decades.

In short, I don't expect to participate in most of what the medical profession calls "health care." You and your patients may feel the same way. Amidst all of the debate, you may be less inclined to go out of your way to influence how your congressional representatives vote on the various aspects of the so-called health care reform. You may feel that it is all too far removed from what health care ought to be about - so why bother?

The reason to bother actually has little to do with you personally or with your current patients. Health care reform, whatever it eventually entails, is unlikely to keep committed chiropractic patients from seeking your care. They appreciate what you do and value chiropractic care; there's no reason to think health care reform will remotely alter their opinion.

The health care reform debate will mostly impact those unfortunates (of which there are many, regrettably) who have yet to understand and appreciate the wellness that chiropractic care can provide. Their health tends to come in spurts, interrupted by doctor visits, prescription drugs and over-the-counter self-infliction.

If you haven't already joined the battle, now is the time. As you may expect, and as has been suggested in several articles in this publication, there are two primary avenues that will allow you and your patients to get involved in the decisions being made for health care reform: and, the advocacy Web sites of the ACA and the ICA, respectively.

Please don't let your organizational preference shape your participation; their efforts are united and their goal is the same: to increase the odds that more people will have more access to chiropractic care, now and in the future. And isn't that what we all want?

Click here for more information about Donald M. Petersen Jr., BS, HCD(hc), FICC(h), Publisher.

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