Last month’s campaign fundraising totals show Democratic gubernatorial hopeful Charlie Crist has strong backing from Florida chiropractors.
In April alone, individual chiropractors contributed at least $112,000 to Crist’s campaign - roughly 12 percent of his fundraising haul for the month.
The support for Republican Gov. Rick Scott’s likely challenger comes two years after Scott backed controversial car insurance reforms. Scott supported the revamp of Florida’s no-fault auto insurance system that chiropractors say left them with lower status among medical professionals and less income in their pockets.
“Chiropractic was treated negatively in those changes," says Florida Chiropractic Association Governmental Affairs Director Jack Hebert. He says the recent reforms took away chiropractors’ ability to diagnose car-accident injuries and limited the amount they can be reimbursed for car-accident treatment to a quarter of what they could previously earn.
“And that’s caused some of our members to have pause in the campaign, and I suspect that they’re voting with their checkbook," he says.
Not everyone agrees with chiropractors. The law’s supporters say its implementation has reduced fraud and reduced auto rates for consumers. Scott and Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater pushed for the law they said led to rampant fraud in Tampa and Miami and a spike in auto insurance rates.
The donations to Crist’s campaign also come a month after the Florida Supreme Court refused to hear a challenge from massage therapists and acupuncturists, saying they don’t have appropriate standing to challenge the law. Individual plaintiffs would need to file the challenge.
Hebert says the association isn't taking an official position on the governor's race.
--Reporter Mary Shedden contributed to this story. Health News Florida is part of WUSF Public Media. Contact Reporter Mary Shedden at (813) 974-8636, on Twitter @MaryShedden, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more health news, visit HealthNewsFlorida.org.