Washington Healthcare Poll Finds 75% of Voters Want Licensed DCs, LAcs, NDs, in Basic Benefits

Summary: We know from a CodeBlueNow! Pulse survey that 69% of voters in red state Iowa think licensed practitioners like chiropractors, acupuncturists and naturopathic physicians should be included in basic benefits. Now a follow-up survey, using the same questions, which CodeBlueNow! commissioned from Gilmore research, we learn that 75% of blue state Washington State voters also want these complementary and integrative medicine practitioners included. The question CBN’s CEO Kathleen O’Connor asks is: Why are the presidential candidates are not reflecting this public opinion?

“Once again the public chimes in on having coverage for everyone, a basic benefit focusing on prevention, and wanting the ability to see any licensed provider if they are licensed by their state.” So states Kathleen O’Connor, founder and CEO of CodeBlueNow! a national not-for-profit organization which commissioned the survey of roughly 600 Washington voters.

The survey covered a range of topics to discover voter opinion on health reform issues. These included payment strategies, which stakeholders are trusted, whether coverage should be universal, whether they would pay to have their neighbors covered. One question related to inclusion of licensed complementary and alternative medicine practitioners in basic benefits.


Iowa Voter Perceptions of the Importance of
Including Licensed CAM Practitioners
in Basic Benefits

“Note your level of agreement
or disagreement with
this statement …”

Basic health benefits should include
coverage for any licensed health care
professional, such as naturopathic

physicians, acupuncturists and
chiropractors, as long as they are
certified and licensed by the state
and by their profession.

Iowa Survey (10/2007) 68% 19%



Washington Survey (01/2008) 75% 14% 10% 1% 4.07

Both surveys by Gilmore Research Group for CodeBlueNow!

The “once again” in O’Connor’s statement refers to an earlier CBN survey of Iowa voters, reported in the Integrator (Iowa Health Reform Poll: 68% of Voters Want Licensed CAM Professionals Covered in Basic Benefits,” October 8, 2007). I asked O’Connor for her views on this topic. She wrote via email:

“The second
CodeBlueNow! Pulse in Washington state was a mirror image of the Iowa survey
last summer. The only statement that had a statistically significant
difference in response between the two states was that regarding inclusion of all types of licensed practitioners. In Iowa,
69% of the voters surveyed agreed with that statement. In Washington, it was


Kathleen O’Connor, CBN’s founder and CEO

O’Connor notes that while the surveys in the two states show a “remarkable congruence” it is intriguing that presidential candidates are not addressing the CAM issue.

�These responses show a remarkable congruence on some key issues across party
lines. We see strong
consensus on covering everyone, and including CAM providers. What is
striking in these findings is how little all the candidates are addressing some
very key concerns of the voters. None, for example, address CAM in their health
care proposals. �

Following the Washington survey, CodeBlueNow! asked Gilmore Research, which carried out the surveys, to provide a comparison report. That fascinating evidence of alignment between citizen views in a red state and blue state is available by clicking here. O’Connor and her CodeBlueNow! team then compared findings with candidate statements. That analysis is available here.

Curious to participate in the CodeBlueNow! Pulse survey? It’s available on the CBN site. You can be part of a third, uncontrolled set of respondents. It’s an interesting instrument.

Disclosure: For the past 8 months I have served on the CBN board of directors.

: One fascinating happenstance of CBN choosing Iowa, for its political importance, and Washington, as its home state, for the surveys, is that the organization chose two states which have been powerfully important for two of the licensed CAM disciplines.

Iowa, the home of Palmer College, has a significant base of chiropractic practitioners through influence for a century. Chiropractic is already widely included in benefits, if for a limited number of visits or conditions. Washington is the home of Bastyr University and, with Oregon, is the base of the rejuvenation of the naturopathic medical profession. Washington has also had strong acupuncture and Oriental medicine and massage therapy schools. Since 1995, the state has required all insurers to include “every category of (licensed) provider.”

One minor conclusion: A decade of experience with such coverage in Washington State doesn’t appear to have dissuaded voters from wanting it in a standard benefit!

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Written by John Weeks

Explore Wellness in 2021