For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Contact: Jim Waters, 270-782-2140
(FRANKFORT, Ky.) – A proposal that would drive up insurance costs for Kentucky businesses and consumers by mandating higher reimbursement rates for chiropractors – rates that would be set by an unelected bureaucrat – is unsound public policy and should be rejected by the state Senate.
HB 202, which passed the House on a 77-15 vote earlier this month, would require insurers to reimburse chiropractors at a much higher rate by tying reimbursement fees to the Workers Compensation Fee Schedule.
Insurers would establish the workers comp fee as the minimum that chiropractors could be paid – a mandate that an independent actuarial analysis reports could drive up health care costs for insured Kentuckians by more than $43 million a year.”
“The last thing we need is for Frankfort to exacerbate an already serious problem with rising health care costs in the current environment brought on by the federal government’s unprecedented mandates – which has created lots of uncertainty for consumers and their employers,” said Jim Waters, president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free market think tank. “If this bill becomes law, every other group of health professionals unhappy with their reimbursement rates soon will be in Frankfort with their hands out – pointing to this bill saying: ‘Where’s ours?””
Not only does the bill take away the right of individual chiropractors to negotiate in a free market, it allows the Labor Cabinet Secretary to establish reimbursement rates and co-pays for Kentuckians.
“I’m sure it’s just a coincidence that the chiropractors’ primary lobbyist in Frankfort is Donna Brown, the wife of Labor Cabinet Secretary Mark Brown.” Waters said. “This is a blatant conflict of interest that would result in an agency that Secretary Brown is in charge of establishing rates that benefit his wife’s clients. This should give state senators enough reasonable doubt to oppose this ill-advised policy.’”
While federal mandates have harmed chiropractors’ ability in recent years to collect reasonable co-pays that are in line with other health care professionals, mandating higher fees is not the answer.
“Just like Obamacare was not the solution to very real problems in our nation’s health-care system, so this bill is not the way to solve the reimbursement-rate issue,” Waters said. “Both will only make their respective situations worse.”