Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees Explore Proposals to Overhaul Medicare Program

The Chairmen of the House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees, as well as the Chairmen of the respective Health Subcommittees, recently released the first in a series of bi-committee discussion papers on Medicare policy proposals. The two committees will release additional papers over the coming months.

The first paper released by the two committees focuses on proposals to modify the cost-sharing and benefit design on the Medicare program – focusing on recent proposals such as the President’s budget, the Simpson-Bowles Commission, the Dominici-Rivilin Task Force and others.

Of greatest concern to the home care community is the paper’s support of a proposal to combine Medicare Parts A and B into a single $550 deductible with a uniform 20 percent copay.

While the paper was released by GOP chairmen of the relevant committees and subcommittees, the paper asserts that, “These reforms carry long-standing bipartisan support from a wide range of policymakers, health experts, and economists.”  On the other hand, there are also a wide range of policymakers, health experts, and economists who oppose the imposition of a uniform 20 percent copayment, including the Leadership Council of Aging Organizations. 

The 20 percent copay would mean an average copay of $600 for a 60-day episode of home health care. For the typical length of stay on hospice, hospice patients would incur copays of approximately $2,300.

Source: NAHC

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