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Will Health Care Reform hurt the massage industry and massage patients?

In a quick short answer. No!!

Before Implementation I believed it was going to be harmful to massage therapists but as it turns out its not.  The reason i thought it was going to be a problem for massage therapist Are listed below and then they are followed by what changed to make it better for massage therapist and their clients.

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It was believed that Finacially speaking it wouldl cause many massage therapy jobs to be lost in Washington State and Florida and keep many massage therapy jobs from being created.
 
It would have provided health care to massage therapist, But at the cost of jobs in Washington and Florida and slow the increase of jobs in the rest of the states.
 
Here is what the problem was. Even Massage Today say's they don't know. the article below states that they talked to the people with the answers for hours and the people talked in a way that was so fast and confusing that they couldn't understand what was said.  Massage today's article Will Health Care Reform Benefit Massage Therapists? By Vivian Madison-Mahoney, LMT. 
 
She did a great Job at showing her concern and directing everyone to contact her so she can become better informed and keep us in the loop.  With our help I'm sure she will be a major force in helping massage therapist get informed. The problem is she doesn't understand the problem. She doesn't understand ERISA and why understanding it, is at the root of the answer. Or what needs to be done to help benefit massage therapists and their patients. 
 
I am based in Washington State. So this ERISA stuff is not new to me. It has been around the whole 14 years that I have been in business. It has been a sore spot in my business.  It allows some insurance plans to not offer massage therapy as a benefit.  So long ago I dug into ERISA.  ThisI was easy because I had a client that was the benefits director at the company and had done the same job for other companies. She explained that the problem with ERISA that eliminates payment for massage therapists is really quite simple. All providers including massage therapist are licensed on a state level.  ERISA is a Federal Law that takes precedent over state law. It only effects companies of a certain size. I don't remember the exact size but I do remember the ones that it effects are medium sized companies.  ERISA doesn't apply to companies that are to small or to large.  The problem is that it is a Fedral law that takes precedent over state law and allows some insurance companies not to pay for massage therapy even though in Washington state and Florida have laws that force insurance companies to pay for massage therapy. 
 
This was a problem for massage therapist because all states do not have a "500 hour" training requirement, and on  the federal level 500 hours of training is what the law makers believe is needed for massage therapist to be safe to perform massage.
 
NOW with all that said. 
 
Here is what was the problem.   If the federal government reimburses for massage in one state they have to do so in all states. And we still have some backwards thinking massage therapist in some states that think licensure is a bad thing and are keeping their states from having massage licensure. They don't realize that they are the ones that are holding up the rest of the country from using federal dollars for massage therapy.  As long as all states don't have a 500 hour minimum requirement for state licensure Federal dollars can not be used for massage therapy.  This is why massage therapy is not paid for by medicare or medicaid and won't be paid by President Obama's health care plan.  As things sit right now.  President Obama's health care reform is bad for the country and worse for massage therapists and bad for all massage patients for the following 3 reasons.
 
1.)Bad for country because we are all ready going broke and we can't pay for health care with out borrowing money,  The country is already on the brink of bankruptcy.   Approximately 20 percent of Medicare and Medicaid cost is fraud and the fraud costs are growing. If our government can't get Medicare and Medicaid right why would we expect government health care program to be any better?  Do we want to expand a failed program so more people can commit fraud and rip of the Government (US tax payers)?
 
2.)Bad for massage therapist because Washington and Florida will lose their ability to get reimbursed for massage by insurance, and the rest of the states will have lost the 2 states with examples of why massage therapy should be an included insurance benefit.
 
3.)Bad for massage patients because they won't be able to get massages paid for through their insurance in Washington and Florida any more and the rest of the states will be further away from offering this benefit having lost the 2 states with examples of how it works and benefits everyone.
 
As Massage therapist in any state the thing for us to concentrate on is getting all 50 states to have Licensure laws with a 500 hour minimum so that the federal government will recognize massage as a safe for patients in all states and start offering massage as a benefit.  
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Now that time has passed and the affordable care act has happened.  It turned out different than I believed it would.  In part because of people like me who were fighting for us massage therapists and pointed out the problems with ERISA didn't come into play because the Federal Government gave the money to the states and then allowed the states to use the money the way they believed was best saving many Massage therapy jobs in Florida and Washington State.

 

 
By Pete Spairring L.M.P.
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