Seniors, Patients, Veterans Organizations Urge Congress and the Obama Administration to Reject Harmful Proposals in Debt Ceiling Compromise
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Barbara D. Woolley
WASHINGTON D.C. (June 28, 2011) Thirty organizations representing seniors, persons with disabilities, military veterans, the chronically ill and minority Americans today expressed their concerns to President Obama and Congress that measures being discussed as part of a debt ceiling compromise could significantly restrict Americans access to Medicare services.
In the letter, the organizations cite the role potential changes could have in limiting access to those vulnerable Americans who need care the most. In addition, a new home health co-payment would cause hardship for hundreds of thousands of patients with annual incomes below $22,000, a disproportionate and damaging burden on the backs of Americans who can least afford it.
The groups make the point that discouraging Medicare beneficiaries from using home health care services will actually result in higher federal spending because fewer Americans will receive proper care and monitoring of chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease.
For many, this additional out-of-pocket cost, this sick tax, will represent the difference between managing their disease from the onset and seeking care only when their disease has worsened and more costly acute care is necessary, the groups wrote.
As an alternative, the organizations suggest that, hundreds of millions of dollars could be saved through delivery and payment reforms to incentivize care coordination, and positive outcomes could eliminate billions of dollars in unnecessary spending.
The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) is a nonprofit organization that represents the nations 33,000 home care and hospice organizations. NAHC also advocates for the more than two million nurses, therapists, aides and other caregivers employed by such organizations to provide in-home services each year to some 10 million Americans who are infirm, chronically ill, disabled and dying. Along with its advocacy, NAHC is committed to excellence in every respect and provides information to help its members maintain the highest quality of care. To learn more about NAHC, visit www.nahc.org and www.caring.org.