Home Health & Hospice

House votes to eliminate Medicare provider reimbursement cuts from trade bill

Homecare Insider, June 15, 2015

In last week’s vote of 392-32, the U.S. House of Representatives overwhelming passed legislation that would nix a bill’s provision calling for wholesale cuts to Medicare providers’ reimbursement in order to fund the reauthorization of the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) program, a non-Medicare entity.  

These pay reductions would have been realized through an extension of the Medicare sequester into 2024, with a 0.25% sequestration adjustment on all Medicare provider payments.
 
But thanks to an outcry from advocates representing providers across the care continuum, House leaders announced their intentions to find a replacement funding mechanism. Representatives plan to instead offset the costs of the TAA bill—which has already passed both arms of Congress—by bumping up tax penalties on companies that file incorrect 1099 tax returns and strengthening enforcement of fraudulent higher education tax credit claims, POLITICO reports.
 
“[Last week's] vote was an important victory for home care and hospice, as well as for Medicare patients and advocates nationwide,” said Val J. Halamandaris, president of the National Association for Home Care & Hospice (NAHC) in a statement. “Congress received our message and opposed raiding Medicare to fund non-health care legislation.”
 
The provision that would remove the Medicare cuts from the TAA legislation was included in a separate trade preferences bill passed by the House.  Although the Senate has yet to pass the bill, NAHC reports that the Congressional branch is likely to do so. 
 
To read HCPro’s past coverage of the TAA-related legislation’s potential impact on Medicare providers, click here.