House Ways and Means Chair Seeking Public Feedback on Medicare Reform Proposals

House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-MI) released draft legislation that would seriously change the benefit structure of Medicare. Proposals included in the draft legislation range from increasing the Medicare Part B deductible for new enrollees to increasing income-related premiums under Parts B & D. Of greatest concern to home care and its members is the suggested implementation of a home health copay. The home health copay proposal in the draft legislation was also included in the President’s FY14 budget. It would impose a $100 copay on home health episodes not preceded by a hospital or nursing home stay, beginning in 2017 and applying to those who become newly eligible for Medicare in 2017 or later.

The Home Care Alliance joins the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC)  in opposition to shifting additional costs onto Medicare home health beneficiaries in the form of more out of pocket expense. With respect to the proposed home health copayment, Congress eliminated such a “sick tax” on beneficiaries back in the 1970s when it was found that such copayments were ineffective at saving the Medicare program money, as people had to seek more costly care options. Home health copayments would be just as harmful – if not more so – today with a rise in the number of beneficiaries needing home health services as Baby Boomers start to retire. If reinstated, the Medicare home health copayment will likely lead to more people seeking care in much more costly care settings such as hospitals, nursing homes and emergency rooms.

Alliance members are encourage to submit comments to the Ways and Means Committee in opposition to a copayment via email to by August 16, 2013.

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Author: Pat Kelleher

Pat Kelleher is Executive Director of the Home Care Alliance of Massachusetts.

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