We now have a golden opportunity to be included as providers under both Medicare and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plans with the introduction of HR 747 by Congressman Maurice Hinchey of New York. This bill has been co-sponsored by several other liberal and conservative members of the U.S. House, and it now has the blessing of Congressman Mike Bilirakis (R-FL), who chairs the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health Care, as well as the lobbyist for the National Association of Retired Federal Employees (N.A.R.F.E.).
Also, we are pursuing the possibility of having acupuncturists added to the list of health care providers who are part of the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness program. This would allow for the forgiveness of student loans for those graduates of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine who choose to work in poor or underprivileged neighborhoods as specified by the federal government.
The key to our success in both areas is your participation in the political process, which means taking time to personally write a letter to your Congressional Representative urging passage of both these bills. Also, it would greatly help if you would urge your families, students, and patients to do the same. Below is a sample letter to give you some ideas to express - in your own words - to your Congress person. Call the AAOM office for the name and address of your Congressperson.
We've waited a long time for this. Let's seize the opportunity.
Harvey Kaltsas, A.P., D.O.M. (FL)
The Honorable xxxxxx
US House of Representatives,
Washington, DC 20515
Dear Representative xxxx:
As a health care consumer, I would like the power to exercise freedom of choice when it comes to determining my own tradition of health care. HR 747 provides for the inclusion of the services of a qualified, state licensed acupuncture practitioner under both Medicare and Federal Employees Health Benefits Plans. I have found acupuncture to be both safe and cost-effective in my own personal care and would prefer this inexpensive form of health care to the more expensive alternatives Medicare now dictates I select.
Would you please co-sponsor HR 747 to empower my own freedom of choice when I select my form of health care?
Also, we wish to request that acupuncturists are added to the list of health care providers who are part of the Federal Student Loan Forgiveness program. Poor people and those in rural areas also deserve th opportunity to be served with acupuncture, which is an inexpensive, safe form of health care. Your support of this bill would enable licensed acupuncturists to practice in poor and rural areas and thus support fairness and the availability of cost-effective alternatives in the medical marketplace.
American Association of Oriental Medicine
433 Front St.
Catasauqua, PA 18032