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Rep. Chu Introduces Bill to Expand Acupuncture Access to Servicemembers, Veterans, and Seniors

October 28, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, Rep. Judy Chu (CA-27) introduced the Acupuncture for Heroes and Seniors Act. The bill permits members of the uniformed services access to qualified acupuncturist services without the requirement of a referral and requires that acupuncture services be offered to all veterans. The bill also ensures that qualified acupuncturist services are covered by Medicare so that seniors have another effective treatment option available to them. In addition to increasing access, the bill recognizes the important contributions of this medical field and makes acupuncturists eligible for appointments as Commissioned Officers in the Armed Forces and in the Public Health Service Commissioned Corps. Rep. Chu released the following statement:

“Traditional Asian medicine has been treating a range of health problems for thousands of years. In fact, this year’s Nobel Prize for Medicine went to a discovery that was rooted in Asian medicine. So it is no surprise that American demand for acupuncture to help with chronic pain, mental health issues, substance abuse, migraines, respiratory disorders, side effects from cancer, and many more illnesses has been increasing over the years. The Affordable Care Act helped to increase access by allowing acupuncture to be included in state health exchanges, but we must do more. It is my goal to make this treatment available to all Americans, which is why I introduced this bill today. Seniors, service members, and veterans should not be denied the benefits of acupuncture because it is not covered by their health insurance. We should be doing everything we can to help these respected communities, instead of taking options off the table. This bill will not only help connect more Americans to the care they need, but it will also continue efforts to educate others on how effective acupuncture and Asian medicine are as alternatives or complements to Western medicine.”  

The bill language can be found here. A section-by-section summary can be found here.

The bill is endorsed by the following organizations: Council of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine Associations (CAOMA), American Association of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AAAOM), National Guild of Acupuncture & Oriental Medicine (NGAOM), OPEIU Guild 62, AFL-CIO, Korean Acupuncture and Asian Medicine Association in USA Traditional Chinese Medicine American Alumni Association (TCMAAA), American Traditional Chinese Medicine Society, American Association of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture (AACMA), California Acupuncture Medical Association (CAMA), California TCM University Alumni Association (ATCMUAA), United Acupuncture Association (UAA), American Association of Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (AAATCM), American Traditional Chinese Medicine and Traumatology Association (ATCMTA), Maryland Acupuncture Society (MAS), Alhambra Medical University (AMU), National Federation of Chinese TCM Organizations (NFCTCMO), Vietnamese Acupuncture Association, Council of Colleges of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CCAOM), American Legion Chinatown Post 628, Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA), Florida Acupuncture Association, Atlantic Institute of Oriental Medicine.