House Ways and Means Committee Releases Draft Legislation – Includes a 1.1 Percentage Point Cut in Inflation Updates

Late last week the House Ways and Means Committee released draft legislation that would significantly alter post-acute care under the Medicare program. Proposals included in the draft legislation range from creating post-acute care bundled payments to establishing a skilled nursing facility (SNF) readmissions program. Of greatest concern to NAHC and its members, however, is a proposal that would reduce market basket updates for all post acute care providers, including home health agencies. The market basket reductions included in the draft legislation were also included in the President’s FY14 budget. The proposal as it is currently written would impose a 1.1 percentage point market basket cut on home health agencies every year between 2014 and 2023.

HCAF & The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) remain committed in its opposition to the home health community having to shoulder a disproportionate share of cuts to the Medicare program, and has already been burdened by $77 billion in cuts over ten years.

If more cuts are made to the Medicare home health program, then Medicare beneficiaries will likely seek care in much more costly care settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and emergency rooms.

In April, the Ways and Means Committee announced a series of hearings on reforms to the Medicare system based on recommendations from President Obama’s budget, as well as from the Simpson-Bowles and Domenici-Rivlin proposals. NAHC submitted testimony to several of these hearings outlining its strong opposition to additional cuts to home healthcare while emphasizing NAHC’s commitment to work with the Ways and Means Committee to find savings though thoughtful and targeted program reforms.

The public is invited to submit their comments to the Ways and Means Committee via email to: entitlementreform@mail.house.gov by August 30, 2013. NAHC encourages all of its members and their patients to write to the Ways and Means Committee reiterating their strong opposition to further cuts in home health payments and describing the dire consequences this would have on home health beneficiaries and their caregivers. Members may also wish to comment on the post acute care bundling proposal in the draft legislation. NAHC has taken the position that home health agencies should play the central role in managing any bundled post acute care payments.

For more information on the draft Medicare legislation, please click here.

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