NAHC released a press release today stating that it strongly opposes President Obama’s proposed home health copayments and payment cuts. NAHC believes that a deficit reduction should not come in the form of a sick tax on the country’s poorest, sickest and most vulnerable individuals. Previously enacted changes are expected to cut Medicare spending on home health services by more than $100 billion in ten years. These cuts will result in Medicare paying home health agencies less than their costs, leading to 56 percent of Medicare home health agencies being “under water” by 2017. NAHC says Congress should reject any additional cuts and any home health copays whether the reason is postponement or elimination of scheduled cuts in physician fees or deficit reduction.
President Obama’s budget estimates that a home health copay would reduce Medicare spending by $830 million through 2025. However, NAHC says a home health copay will do the opposite and take Medicare spending in the wrong direction by forcing patients out of high-quality, cost-effective care into much more costly settings. The budget also includes a reduction each year in the Market Basket Index (inflation) updates for all post-acute providers from 2016 to 2025, including a 1.1 percentage reduction for home health care. These cuts would reduce home health reimbursements by over $15 billion. If these cuts do take effect, payment reductions would be an addition to the rebasing on home health, home health productivity adjustments and sequestration that lower payment rates by over 14 percent starting in 2015. According to NAHC, these home health cuts will push thousands of providers to the point of bankruptcy and limit patients’ access to home care.
Click here to read the press release.