Posts Tagged ‘House Ways and Means Committee’

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

September 6, 2013

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

August 9, 2013

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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House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Holds Hearing on Medicare Benefit Redesign

June 28, 2013

The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health recently held a hearing that looked at ways to redesign the Medicare benefit. The hearing’s witnesses were: Katherine Baicker, Ph.D.Professor, Health Economics, Department of Health Policy and Management, Harvard School of Public Health; Thomas P. Miller, J.D., Resident Fellow, American Enterprise Institute, and; Patricia Neuman, ScD., M.S., Senior Vice President, Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

The National Association of Home Care & Hospice submitted testimony for the hearing, emphasizing the organization’s commitment to preserving the Medicare benefit without placing more financial responsibility on the backs of the program’s beneficiaries – particularly through the misguided idea to reintroduce the Medicare home health copayment. (more…)

Senior Groups Submit Testimony Opposing Home Health Copays

April 11, 2013

The Leadership Council of Aging Organizations, a coalition of national organizations representing over 60 million older Americans, recently submitted written testimony to the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health opposing the imposition of Medicare home health and hospice copayments. The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is a member of the LCAO. (more…)

Florida Lawmakers Appointed to Influential Health Care Committees in Congress

February 18, 2013

Calling All Advocates to Connect with Lawmakers!

Democratic Senator Bill Nelson and Reps. Gus Bilirakis (R-Palm Harbor), Vern Buchanan (R-Longboat Key) and Kathy Castor (D-Tampa) have been appointed to congressional committees with jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid matters, which include oversight over the home health benefit. (more…)

House Committee Examines Status of Private Medicare Health Plans

October 11, 2012

Enrollment Increases Despite Cuts in Payments

The House Ways and Means Committee held a hearing recently on the current status of private Medicare health plans under the Medicare Advantage (MA) program (Part C). Recent data from the Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) indicates that there are currently over 13.5 million Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in private health plans, representing more than one in four Medicare beneficiaries (27 percent). CMS projects that enrollment will grow by 11 percent in 2013 and by 28 percent over the period 2011 to 2013. (more…)

House Ways and Means Panel to Review IRS and Health Care Law

September 6, 2012

A House Ways and Means subcommittee will review next week the Internal Revenue Service’s role in the Affordable Care Act. House Ways and Means Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany, R-LA, said the Sept. 11 hearing would allow a closer examination of the tax agency’s place in the health care law’s implementation. (more…)

Bondi: Feds’ Power Grab Must Be Stopped

March 12, 2012

By Pam Bondi, Florida Attorney General

Florida and more than half of the states in the nation have challenged the federal government’s Affordable Care Act because it deprives Americans of their individual liberty and violates the United States Constitution. The U.S. Supreme Court will decide whether to enforce constitutional limitations on federal authority — or, conversely, whether to allow the federal government to dominate states and individuals to the point of dictating day-to-day decisions. (more…)

Congress Reaches Deal on Extending Physician Fix Without Cutting Home Health

February 17, 2012

Congress has reached a deal on legislation that would extend the payroll tax holiday, extend unemployment insurance coverage, and rescue physicians from a 27 percent cut in their Medicare fees. The $150 billion package was worked out by House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI); Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT), House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). (more…)