The home care community needs to be involved and present a unified message as lawmakers work to address the impending “fiscal cliff.” During the post election “lame duck” session, Congress will be grappling with how to reduce burgeoning deficits and offset the costs of fixing the flawed Medicare physician payment formula, among a host of other fiscal issues. Home health copayments and payment cuts have been proposed as a means of deficit reduction and offsetting the cost of the physician fix.
Copayments have been proposed by a number of key players in the budget debate. Specifically:
- The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform of 2010 (the “Bowles-Simpson plan”) recommended a uniform 20 percent copayment for all Medicare services. This would amount to a $600 copay to access an episode of Medicare home health care.
- The Congressional Budget Office proposed a 10 percent home health copay as one of its budget options for deficit reduction, a proposal that received support from the Republican Study Committee.
- The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has recommended a home health copay (as much as $150 per episode) for episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay.
- The President’s September 2011 deficit reduction plan included a $100 home health copay for episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 for newly eligible Medicare beneficiaries. Further cuts in home health payments have also been proposed in these plans.
NAHC has scheduled a live and virtual “March on Washington” lobby day for December 5 and 6. The message to lawmakers is “Oppose Medicare home health copays and payment cuts.”
The Alliance will hold a free open conference call for members to review talking points and prepare for the virtual lobby days on Tuesday, December 4, at 3:00 p.m. To register for this call, please email Stephanie Drakes.
We have stopped copays before, but the economic situation is dire and with the range of options on the table, the home health community needs to raise its voice collectively. Every advocacy group and every interest group will be weighing in, so remaining silent at such a critical time is not an option!
Alliance members can send a message using the NAHC Legislative Action Network (LAN). Once you log onto the LAN, you can access talking points on home health copayments and get the Washington telephone numbers of your elected representatives.
Please encourage your colleagues, staff, friends, family and the families of your patients to visit the link above or call the office of your member of Congress and our Senators:
Sen. John Kerry – (202) 224-2742 / Boston office (617) 565-8519
Sen. Scott Brown – (202) 224-4543 / Boston office (617) 565-3170
Congressman Jim McGovern – (202) 225-6101 / Worcester office (508) 831-7356
Congressman John Tierney – (202) 225-8020 / Peabody office (978) 531-1669
Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (202) 225-3411 / Lowell Office (978) 459-0101
Congressman Ed Markey 202-225-2836 / Medford Office 781-396-2900
Congressman Mike Capuano (202) 225-5111 / Cambridge Office (617) 621-6208
Congressman Richard Neal (202) 225-5601 / Springfield office (413) 785-0325
Congressman John Olver (202) 225-5335 / Pittsfield Office (413)-442-0946
Congressman Stephen Lynch (202) 225-8273 / Boston office (617) 428-2000
Congressman Bill Keating (202) 225-3111 / Quincy Office (617) 770-3700
Return to www.thinkhomecare.org.