In the realm of healthcare, fairness and accessibility should be fundamental principles guiding policy decisions. Unfortunately, in Vermont, these principles seem to have been overlooked when it comes to the coverage of acupuncture under Medicaid. While some states like Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland  have taken steps to include acupuncture in their Medicaid systems, Vermont lags behind, leaving its residents without access to this valuable form of alternative medicine.

Vermont’s Exclusion of Acupuncture

The exclusion of acupuncture from Vermont’s Medicaid coverage is not just a bureaucratic oversight; it’s a glaring injustice that denies vulnerable populations access to effective healthcare options. Consider the findings of the 2017 study titled “Acupuncture for Chronic Pain in the Vermont Medicaid Population.” This study, conducted by acupuncturists in Vermont in collaboration with the Vermont Acupuncture Association, sought to demonstrate the efficacy of acupuncture in managing chronic pain among Medicaid recipients.

The results were compelling: 32% of patients using opioid medication reported reductions in the use of opioid medication following acupuncture intervention.

This is a significant finding, especially in a state grappling with high levels of opioid use and related fatalities. Acupuncture offers a non-pharmacological alternative for pain management, addressing a critical need in Vermont’s healthcare landscape.

Despite the clear evidence supporting the benefits of acupuncture, Vermont legislators have stubbornly refused to include it in Medicaid coverage. This decision flies in the face of reason and compassion, leaving many Vermonters without access to relief from chronic and acute pain, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and sleep disturbances.

Not a Fringe Treatment

Acupuncture is not a fringe treatment; it’s a time-honored practice with a growing body of scientific evidence supporting its efficacy. By denying coverage for acupuncture, Vermont’s Medicaid system is failing to meet the diverse needs of its population and perpetuating health disparities.

In contrast, states like Washington, Oregon, California, New Mexico, Colorado, Minnesota, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Florida, New Jersey, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Maryland have all recognized the value of acupuncture and have taken steps to ensure that Medicaid beneficiaries have access to this important modality. These states understand that effective healthcare is about more than just managing symptoms; it’s about empowering individuals to take control of their health and well-being.

It’s time for Vermont to follow suit and prioritize the health and welfare of its residents. By including acupuncture in Medicaid coverage, Vermont can take a proactive step towards addressing the opioid crisis, improving healthcare outcomes, and promoting equity in access to healthcare services.

The exclusion of acupuncture from Vermont’s Medicaid coverage is unjust and short-sighted. Vermonters deserve access to a full spectrum of healthcare options, including integrative therapies like acupuncture. It’s time for legislators to listen to the evidence, heed the calls of advocacy groups like the Vermont Acupuncture Association, and make the necessary changes to ensure that all Vermonters have access to the care they need and deserve.

Want Coverage? Send A Link

Our Vermont legislators need to hear that acupuncture is an effective medical treatment and a crucial addition to Medicaid to support the healthcare of our communities.

Contact your Vermont Legislator at this website. Send them a link to this blog post and tell your story about how Acupuncture has helped you or how you’d like to try Acupuncture for your health but can not access it. Acupuncture for All!


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Nielsen A, Dusek JA, Taylor-Swanson L, Tick H. Acupuncture Therapy as an Evidence-Based Nonpharmacologic Strategy for Comprehensive Acute Pain Care: The Academic Consortium Pain Task Force White Paper Update. Pain Med. 2022 Aug 31;23(9):1582-1612. doi: 10.1093/pm/pnac056. PMID: 35380733; PMCID: PMC9434305.
Vickers AJ, Vertosick EA, Lewith G, MacPherson H, Foster NE, Sherman KJ, Irnich D, Witt CM, Linde K; Acupuncture Trialists’ Collaboration. Acupuncture for Chronic Pain: Update of an Individual Patient Data Meta-Analysis. J Pain. 2018 May;19(5):455-474. doi: 10.1016/j.jpain.2017.11.005. Epub 2017 Dec 2. PMID: 29198932; PMCID: PMC5927830.