Each year in the US alone (which by the way is the highest in the world) more than 650,000 spinal surgical procedures are performed at costs exceeding $20 billion.
In an excellent example of the kind of comparative effectiveness research needed to distinguish the relative quality of competing treatment approaches, researchers in Alberta, Canada studied the relative costs and benefits of lumbar microdisckectomy and chiropractic spinal manipulation for patients with low back pain and sciatica associated with lumbar disk herniation for whom usual medical care had failed. The results were dramatic: 60 percent of patients with sciatica who had failed medical management benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they had undergone surgical intervention, at a far lower cost.
The economic implications of these findings are far-reaching. In the U.S., at least 200,000 microdiskectomies are performed annually at a direct cost of $5 billion, or $25,000 per procedure. Avoiding 60 percent of these surgeries would mean a reduction savings of $3 billion annually. In the Canadian study, patients receiving chiropractic care averaged 21 visits during their course of care. If a cost of $100 per patient visit is assumed for the care provided by the chiropractor, then the total cost per patient would be $2,100, yielding per patient savings of $22,900, or $2.75 billion dollars annually.
In another important 2010 study it evaluated low back pain care for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee’s insured population over a two-year period. The 85,000 BCBS subscribers in the insured study population had open access to MDs and DCs through self-referral, and there were no limits applied to the number of MD/DC visits allowed and no differences in co-pays. Thus, the data from this study reflect what happens when chiropractic and medical services compete on a level playing field.
The researchers, led by an actuary, compared the costs of low back pain care initiated with a doctor of chiropractic with care initiated through a medical doctor or osteopathic physician. They found that costs for the chiropractic group were 40 percent lower. Even after factoring in the severity of the conditions with which patients presented, costs when initiating care with a DC rather than an MD/DO were 20 percent lower. The researchers concluded that insurance companies that restrict access to chiropractic care for low back pain treatment may inadvertently pay more for care than they would if they removed such restrictions. According to this analysis, had all of the low back cases initiated care with a DC, this would have led to an annual cost savings of $2.3 million for BCBS of Tennessee. Remember, this is just one state, just 85,000 people.
Let's extrapolate that to the US population of 316,000,000. If ALL Americans sought Chiropractic care BEFORE seeking Medical care for back pain it would save this country $8.5 BILLION a year.
I just googled this data...anyone can find it. BCBS did that research and they still limit the amount of visits on policies each year. The raise chiropractic co-pays every year. A savings of 8.5 Billion!? Every year! When are Health Insurance Companies going to wake up?
Better yet, when are Americans going to wake up? ....I'm just saying