House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Releases Draft Legislation that Would Increase Cost-sharing In Medicare – Including Adding a Home Health Copay
Chairman seeking public feedback on proposals in draft legislation; all NAHC members encouraged to submit their comments to email@example.com by August 16, 2013.
July 25, 2013 09:57 AM
Late last week, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released draft legislation that would seriously change the benefit structure of Medicare. Proposals included in the draft legislation range from increasing the Medicare Part B deductible for new enrollees to increasing income-related premiums under Parts B & D. Of greatest concern to NAHC and its members is the suggested implementation of a home health copay.
The home health copay proposal in the draft legislation was also included in the President’s FY14 budget. It would impose a $100 copay on home health episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 and applying to those who become newly eligible for Medicare in 2017 or later.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) remains committed in its opposition to shifting additional costs onto Medicare home health beneficiaries in the form of more out of pocket expense. With respect to the proposed home health copayment, Congress eliminated such a “sick tax” on beneficiaries back in the 1970s when it was found that such copayments were ineffective at saving the Medicare program money, as people had to seek more costly care options.
Home health copayments would be just as harmful – if not more so – today with a rise in the number of beneficiaries needing home health services as Baby Boomers start to retire. If reinstated, the Medicare home health copayment will likely lead to more people seeking 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strong opposition to a home health copayment - emphasizing that it is as wrong for Medicare now as it was when it was repealed in 1972, while at the same time emphasizing NAHC’s commitment to work with the Ways and Means Committee to find savings though thoughtful and targeted program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: firstname.lastname@example.org by August 16, 2013. NAHC encourages all of its members and their patients to write to the Ways and Means Committee reiterating their strong opposition to the home health copay proposal laid out in the draft legislation and describing the dire consequences that the addition of a Medicare home health copay would have on home health beneficiaries and their caregivers.
More information on the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearings on Medicare – including NAHC’s testimony – can be found in previous NAHC Report articles here and here.
Following the Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearings, NAHC and other stakeholders were invited to share their ideas for ways to reform Medicare post acute care payments. Additional information on that initiative can be found in a previous NAHC Report article here.
For more information on the draft Medicare legislation, please click here.