On the eve of the Senate Budget Committee’s mark-up of a fiscal year 2007 budget resolution, the American Association for Homecare (AAHomecare) delivered letters to members of the committee, expressing opposition to the 36-month cap to oxygen equipment, which was recently passed into law in the Deficit Reduction Act, and opposition to the 13-month cap for oxygen equipment, which was proposed in the president’s 2007 budget. AAHomecare also asked the committee to preserve the market basket update for Medicare home health rates in 2007.
Budget Committee Chair Judd Gregg (R-NH) has suggested that his committee may not include the Medicare cuts that were proposed in the president’s budget. The House will take up the budget resolution later in the month. AAHomecare delivered similar letters to members of the House Budget Committee.
AAHomecare also requested a meeting with President Bush to discuss all of the home care provisions in his 2007 budget and begin a dialogue with the White House about the importance of home care in cost-effective Medicare and Medicaid programs.
While there may be some election-year hesitation to take on Medicare cuts, home care — and oxygen in particular — is still a high-profile target for Congressional budget cutters. The underlying pressures to reduce Medicare spending will only grow.
AAHomecare is urging all home care stakeholders to continue to educate their members of Congress about the importance of home care in their state or Congressional district and elevate the visibility of home care among elected officials during this election year. For updated information, visit www.aahomecare.org.