Fiscal Cliff is Over.
On Friday, January 4, NAHC released a statement from Val Halamandaris, President of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) regarding the passage of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. The statement is as follows:
“Now that the Congress has passed and the President has signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, the economic consequences of the “fiscal cliff” have been, at least in the near term, averted. The efforts of the Members of Congress and their staffs, along with those in the Administration, who worked over the holidays to arrive at the resolution should be thanked and commended for their efforts. The problem of government spending levels and the national debt has, of course, not gone away. And it will continue to be a subject of national debate.”
“The home health care industry believes now, as we have believed in the past that we can play a vital role in support of responsible and sustainable government spending. Home health care not only keeps families together and is overwhelmingly what patients prefer, it is far more cost effective for Medicare than institutional options. The Medicare home health benefit has already been cut by $77 billion over the next ten years and any further reductions would be devastating to ability of the providers of home health care to continue with the high quality – high value service they give. And with 10,000 members of the baby boomer generation reaching their 65th birthday every day for the next 19 years, the need for home health services will only increase.”
“I also note that the legislation creates a new Long Term Care Commission with members, representing interests including those of consumers, the elderly and handicapped, family caregivers, and the health care workforce who provide long-term services, to study and make recommendations regarding this important element in the health care system. The expertise of the members of this Commission will be valuable in examining the current status of long term care and in giving advice on reforms and courses of action for the future.”
“I am confident that the Congress recognizes the value of home health care and will encourage its use as we all move forward to solve the economic challenges our nation faces.”
HEALTHCAREfirst is also pleased to see there were no cuts to Medicare home health service or hospice care benefits, payments or payment rates. This is an encouraging sign and we hope that our representatives will continue to acknowledge its value when considering future legislation.