Home Health Co-Pays and Medicare Cuts: Obama’s Proposed Plan

President Obama’s $320 Billion Cut Proposal.

The National Association for Home Care and Hospice (NAHC) recently voiced its concern about President Obama’s 2013 budget, which includes Medicare and Medicaid cuts as well as home health copayments.  HEALTHCAREfirst joins with NAHC in its opposition of copays for home health, as this will likely create barriers for those in need of home care.

Following is an excerpt from NAHC’s press release from earlier this week.

President Releases 2013 Budget Includes Medicare & Medicaid Cuts and Home Health Copays
Essential Home Health Services are at Risk

WASHINGTON D.C. (Feb. 14, 2012) – The National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) strongly opposes the Administration’s proposed home health copayments and believe deficit reduction should not come in the form of a “sick tax” on the nation’s poorest and sickest. The President’s Budget also included a reduced Market Basket Index (inflation) updates in 2014 to 2021. The proposed update reductions of 1.1 percentage points each year affect all post-acute providers. These reductions would be in addition to the 2014 home health rate rebasing and the productivity adjustments starting in 2015.

Val J. Halamandaris, President of NAHC said “essential home health services are at risk. The Medicare home care benefit, only $17 billion in 2009, has been cut by $77 billion over the next ten years. As a result of these cuts 53 percent of all Medicare participating agencies will be under water in 2012 — that is, paid less than their costs by Medicare. Congress should therefore resist making additional cuts in home care for any reason, including postponement of a 27 percent cut in Medicare physician fees.”  In regards to the home health reimbursement rates for doctors through Medicare, Halamandaris said “the home health community supports reforms that will stabilize Medicare payments to physicians. However, the costs of these reforms should not be funded by indiscriminate across the board cuts to home health care.”