On Tuesday, GOP Reps. Rep. Greg Walden (R-OR) and Rep. Tom Price (R-GA) introduced legislation to reverse the Obama Administration’s decision to cut payments for home health-care services by 14%. The planned cuts, the maximum allowed under ObamaCare, jeopardize health care services for more than 3 million services and threaten to push 40% of home health care providers into bankruptcy.
The Walden-Price legislation, the “Securing Access Via Excellence for (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act” would repeal the Obama cuts and secure cost savings through program reforms. Home health services are especially critical in rural areas, where alternatives for health care for seniors may be hundreds of miles away.
“Home health care allows patients more control over their health care, and provides a sense of comfort, familiarity, and normalcy for the patient and their families. I know this first hand, because it’s what my parents chose,” Walden said. “And it’s not just a win for the patient. Home-based care benefits Medicare as a whole. Having people recover at home is less expensive than in a hospital or nursing home.”
While the legislation is unlikely to pass the Senate, the Obama Administration’s drastic cuts to home health care services could become an issue in the upcoming elections. Soon after the cuts were first announced after the first of the year, more than 150 home health care activists held a rally with NC House Speaker Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) against the cuts. Tillis is challenging embattled Dem Sen. Kay Hagan in November. These rallies will likely increase as the election nears.
“Obamacare cuts targeting Medicare home health threaten our state’s oldest and sickest seniors, reduce healthcare quality, increase healthcare costs, and cause job losses,” Tillis said at the time. “Home healthcare is a proven low-cost solution that keeps patients healthier, prevents expensive facility stays, and improves patient quality of life. That is why Obamacare’s Medicare cuts are wrong for our seniors, they are wrong for our State, and they must be stopped.”