NAHC Statement on Lieberman-Coburn Medicare Bill
For additional information:
Barbara D. Woolley
WASHINGTON D.C. (June 29, 2011) Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), released the following statement regarding legislation unveiled today by Senators Lieberman (I-CT) and Coburn (R-OK):
Senator Lieberman and Senator Coburn have been longstanding champions of Medicare-funded home health care, but this approach would directly threaten the health, stability and well-being of millions of seniors, disabled persons and chronically ill Americans.
Home health cuts will force Medicare beneficiaries, many of whom are on fixed incomes and fall below the poverty line, out of their homes and into costly hospitals and institutional settings at a time when its clear that providing care at home is a solution to rising costs and deficits. Implementing cost sharing, the equivalent of a sick tax, will deny care to vulnerable patients in every state and district across the nation.
Cost-sharing would have a severe impact on Medicare home health beneficiaries. According to research conducted by Avalere Health, 58 percent of home health patients are below 200 percent of the federal poverty line compared to 41 percent of all Medicare beneficiaries. Further, we understand that the cost-sharing proposal would also impact hospice providers and the beneficiaries and families they serve. Hospice not only provides compassionate care at a most vulnerable point in an individuals life, but has proven in many cases to save precious Medicare resources. We should encourage, rather than discourage, use of this important benefit.
Stated simply, the approach proposed by Senators Lieberman and Coburn is wrong, goes against public opinion, and will harm vulnerable Americans and their families. Instead of across-the-board cuts, Congress and the administration have a clear opportunity to save billions through better care coordination and targeted efforts to address fraud and abuse.
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.