The MAC: Celebrating Our First Decade!
Part VII: The Fight Against the Blues Continues (2011-2012)
January 1, 2017, marked the 10th Anniversary of the Michigan Association of Chiropractors! As we begin our second decade, we will be looking at where we’ve been, where we are, and where the profession is going with one, unified organization working hard every day for the chiropractic profession in Michigan.
The year 2011 brought with it new leadership to the MAC. In late 2010, the membership elected Dr. Dan Spencer of Hudson (pictured, left) to serve as President and Dr. Dennis Whitford of Mt. Pleasant to serve as Vice President/Director of External Affairs. Under MAC By-Laws, Outgoing president Dr. Donald Reno of Sterling Heights assumed the position of Chairman of the Board. And, at their first meeting of 2011, the MAC Board of Directors re-elected Dr. Damian Palmer of Hesperia to serve as Director of Internal Affairs and Dr. Eric Hartman of Jenison to serve as Director of Financial Affairs for 2011-2012.
Lawsuits Against the Blues Move Forward
The lawsuits against Blue Cross and Blue Care slowly moved forward, and in April 2011 the MAC received a very favorable ruling when Ingham County Circuit Court Judge Paula Manderfield granted us “class action” status. With the ruling, the MAC became the first state association to be granted class action status against the Blues. This was an extremely promising development, but it was only the first step in the major effort to come, as the Blues appealed Judge Manderfield’s ruling to the Michigan Court of Appeals. It wouldn’t be until 2013 that we would have a ruling in that appeal.
Medicaid Restored in Michigan Budget
With the State of Michigan facing an unprecedented fiscal crisis, chiropractic care for adult Medicaid beneficiaries was (shortsightedly) removed from the State Budget in the 2009-2010 fiscal year. In April 2011, Dr. Spencer testified before the Michigan Senate Appropriations Committee’s Department of Community Health Subcommittee – the committee responsible for developing Michigan’s Medicaid budget – about the reinstatement of chiropractic care to this vulnerable population.
Dr. Spencer’s testimony stressed the importance of the inclusion of chiropractic if Medicaid is to be as efficient and effective as possible. Using the latest cost-effectiveness research, Dr. Spencer outlined the case that chiropractic reduces costs rather than adds to them. Dr. Spencer concluded: “In closing, I would like to say that chiropractic care is safe, effective, and most important from a budgetary standpoint, extremely cost-effective. A health care system such as Medicaid cannot be truly cost-effective and efficient without chiropractic coverage. For these reasons, we respectfully request the reinstatement of chiropractic care for adult Medicaid patients in the Department of Community Health budget for the coming fiscal year.”
After an educational campaign aimed at members of the House and Senate Appropriations committees and a tremendous grassroots effort from our members, chiropractic coverage for adult Medicaid beneficiaries was restored in June 2012, and it remains funded to this day. This is critical, as more than 670,000 Michiganders have been added to the Medicaid rolls since the expansion of Medicaid allowed under the Affordable Care Act of 2010.
Adjusting Attitudes at the State Capitol
In early 2011, the MAC arranged for a chiropractic table to be installed in the legislative office of state Rep. Michael Callton, DC, the first chiropractor elected to the Michigan Legislature. Dr. Callton was sworn in to represent the people of Michigan’s 87th House District in January 2011.
Dr. Callton would serve in the Michigan House until the end of 2016. He is currently planning a run for the Michigan Senate in the 19th District, which includes Barry, Calhoun, and Ionia counties.
MAC Expands Partnership with State of Michigan
In June 2012, Governor Snyder introduced his Michigan Health and Wellness 4x4 Plan, and the MAC saw an opportunity to expand our partnership with the State of Michigan. As the wellness experts in health care, chiropractors are a natural fit with the Governor’s program, and our commitment to the state’s health and wellness continues to this day with our Health Screening Programs. Go to www.macscreenings.com for more information or to register.
Michigan Premiere of “Doctored!” At Fall Convention!
At the Fall 2012 Convention in Dearborn, the MAC was extremely proud to host the Michigan premiere of the documentary “Doctored!” Hundreds of chiropractors, CAs, and other chiropractic supporters joined together to watch what some have called “the single most important event to hit chiropractic in decades.” Director Bobby Sheehan and producer Jeff Hayes were on hand to meet and greet attendees at this amazing event.
Sheehan and Hayes shot hundreds of hours of footage from Surgeons, MDs, DCs, DOs, and normal, everyday people fighting for their lives, shown in crisis, each having to choose to follow the normal, drug-based, standard of care or risk everything by providing or accepting belittled alternative therapies. It was an amazing evening that sure got everyone fired up about the healing power of chiropractic!