The debate over whether to use the term subluxation or joint dysfunction, adjust or manipulate or care instead of treatment pales in comparison to a much larger conflict gathering on the horizon: national health care. More specifically, should chiropractic be included in any type of national health care plan, or should it remain outside whatever Congress and the next president concoct?
I’m guessing that the most recent push for merger talks between the major chiropractic political organizations is actually motivated by the hope that chiropractic will speak with one voice during the ensuing “negotiations” about what role chiropractic might play in such a plan.
If it were only that easy.
Those who distinguish between sick care and health care and see the price tag of symptom-treating escalate with each passing year, know that the current system is unsustainable. My guess is that sooner rather than later taxpayers will be asked to pick up the tab. When they do, will chiropractors get their “fair share” of the trillions that will be spent to treat the symptoms of the public’s ignorance, lack of self-responsibility and poor lifestyle choices?
Those with struggling practices, unable to make a compelling case for patients to pay cash for their care, would find the credibility, validity and economic safety net of inclusion comforting. Yet, those who already chafe at the compromises of working for “the man” in the form of Medicare or the state agency regulating work-related injuries, will campaign vigorously to be excluded. (You want unity? Start by reconciling these opposing perspectives!)
Then there will be the vast majority of chiropractors who see the inevitability of a national health care program and will want to be included IF certain restrictions and assurances are in place that treat chiropractors and their patients respectfully. This is the Trojan Horse strategy, better known as the “Rope-a-Dope” maneuver. What these unsuspecting chiropractors naively forget is that “what the government giveth, the government can taketh away.” And probably will. (Just ask chiropractors in Ontario, Canada.) Because if you think higher co-pays, higher deductibles and visit caps have impacted your practice, wait until even the most meager coverage under a national plan is suddenly jerked out from under you in some money-saving scheme like chiropractic supporter Schwarzenegger pulled in California.
“Yes, but by then I’ll have stashed enough money aside to retire. That’ll be a battle for the next generation of chiropractor to deal with.”
Has it come to that? Every man for himself? If so, then selling out for thirty pieces of silver is a no-brainer. Get while the gitt’ns good!
You don’t have to decide today. Remaining outside the system will offer advantages and disadvantages. Before you choose, find out how chiropractors with cash practices are getting along in the UK, New Zealand, Australia and even those in British Columbia working outside their respective country’s socialized medical system.
Just remember the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin who observed, "Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither."