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Medicare weighs whether to pay for acupuncture
The Washington Post

Seeking ways to address chronic pain without narcotics, Medicare is exploring whether to pay for acupuncture, a move that would thrust the government health insurance program into the long-standing controversy over whether the therapy is any better than placebo.

Coverage would be for chronic low-back pain only, a malady that afflicts millions of people. Low-back pain, acute and chronic, ranks as the third-greatest cause of poor health or mortality in the United States, behind only heart disease and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to the National Institutes of Health.

In its request for comments on acupuncture, the Department of Health and Human Services said that “in response to the U.S. opioid crisis, HHS is focused on preventing opioid use disorder and providing more evidence-based non-pharmacologic treatment options for chronic pain.”

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