More than a dozen Florida home care professionals descended on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. this week to lobby Congress on home care industry issues, including Medicare reimbursement rates and cuts, copays, the companionship services exemption and the employer mandate. In addition to meeting with Florida’s members of Congress, attendees also met with the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging, which addresses Medicare, Medicaid and senior issues, and is chaired by Florida Senator Bill Nelson.
Before meeting with lawmakers, attendees participated in a preparation meeting to discuss the industry’s message. Attendees also heard from members of the U.S. Senate who have been champions for the home care industry, including: Senators Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Al Franken (D-MN), Susan Collins (R-ME), Mark Warner (D-VA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Mary Landrieu (D-LA).
Congress is currently discussing the 2013-14 federal budget as well as the debt ceiling, and industry professionals made our message clear: the Medicare home health industry cannot sustain further cuts! The industry, which accounts for 4% of the Medicare budget, accounted for 10% of the cuts under the Affordable Care Act, and has been cut nearly 20% since 2008, including the recent 2% sequestration cut. As a result, 45% of Florida’s Medicare-certified home health agencies will have a profit margin of zero or less in 2014.
A special thank you to the home care professionals who made the trip to Washington to fight for home care, and to our sponsors, CHAP and Medline Industries…your support made a difference! If you didn’t join us for this year’s March on Washington, please consider coming up next time to lobby your lawmakers on issues that impact our industry.