Congressional Quarterly Runs Article On Home Health Care Budget Cuts

Shows Bipartisan Opposition to Home Health Cuts.

I would like to share this article with you by Jane Norman that we find to be very helpful in highlighting Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Fabrizio-Ward polling results. The poll shows overwhelming, bipartisan opposition to home health care budget cuts.

Home Health Care Supporters Point to Poll That Shows Opposition to Cutbacks

Home health care providers are fighting back against payment reductions that could be headed in their direction with a new poll that shows opposition to funding cuts for in-home health care.

The poll released by the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC), found that 73 percent of those surveyed “strongly” or “somewhat” opposed cuts to in-home health care services for seniors and people with disabilities.

The most intense opposition, as might be expected, came from seniors and people on the verge of retirement. Opposition was also bipartisan, though more Democrats than Republicans were against funding reductions.

In a separate question, pollsters told those surveyed there were other ways to cut costs, such as reducing Medicare fraud and abuse but that there are also arguments that the deficit is too high and Medicare itself faces long-term fiscal problems. In response, 67 percent said they still strongly or somewhat opposed cuts.

The poll was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Fabrizio-Ward. Anna Greenberg of the polling firm said that the results showed an intensity of feeling among those polled because they feel a “very personal” connection to the issue of home health.

Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice, said in an interview that home health care leaders have been told “on very good authority” that they are in line for major cuts as negotiations continue on deficit reduction proposals.

The poll also found strong opposition to a suggested out-of-pocket payment of up to $300 for each home health visit. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) recommended in its March report that Congress should direct the Health and Human Services secretary to add a co-payment for home health. Commissioners said that adding such a fee would sensitize patients to the cost of the benefit, and discussed setting such a co-payment at $150.

The home health survey was conducted among 751 likely voters and included an oversample of 100 seniors. The margin of error for the poll was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

source: By Jane Norman | CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

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