According to the American Herbal Products Association (AHPA), Silver Spring, MD, the healthcare reform bill signed into law March 23 by President Barack Obama, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, includes several provisions that address complementary and alternative medicine (CAM), and one focused on certain dietary supplements. These details, previously identified by American Herbal Products Association (AHPA) President Michael McGuffin in a Jan. 13, 2010 open letter, primarily serve to better incorporate alternative practitioners into the U.S. healthcare system.
Among the provisions included in the final law, section 4206 would have a direct effect on those dietary supplements for which there are FDA-approved health claims by setting up a pilot program for "wellness plans," which can now include those few supplements with "health claims approved by the Secretary." Currently approved health claims include, for example, claims for calcium and osteoporosis; soluble fiber and coronary heart disease; and folic acid and neural tube birth defects.
Another notable provision in the healthcare reform bill is section 2706, which AHPA says prohibits "discrimination" against any healthcare provider licensed in a state; more specifically:
"A group health plan and a health insurance issuer offering group or individual health insurance coverage shall not discriminate with respect to participation under the plan or coverage against any healthcare provider who is acting within the scope of that provider's license or certification under applicable State law."