The following report from AAHomecare outlines the latest news after a hectic week racing to bring relief from Medicare cuts poised for implementation on July 1.
As we reported to the AAHomecare membership yesterday, we were successful in passing an amended version of S. 2736 through the Senate via unanimous consent on Tuesday evening.
On the House side, our champions have been running into objections from influential parties over the proposed Medicaid pay-for. With the July 1 deadline looming, they were able to broker an agreement to allow an amended version of H.R. 5210 to the floor that featured a three-month delay to the second round of cuts to non-bid areas. While this delay would be considerably shorter than the 15-month and 12-month delays we have seen in earlier iterations of this legislation, it would allow for more time to negotiate a longer delay and possibly include our provisions in other legislation that would be moving before the end of the Federal government’s fiscal year (Oct. 1).
Our champions were able get the 3-month delay version placed on the suspension calendar for a vote yesterday afternoon. However, the unexpected and unprecedented action by House Democrats to stage a sit-in to shut down the House floor until leadership agreed to consider gun-control legislation scuttled all legislation up for consideration yesterday. Ultimately the House went into their planned recess (to July 5) last night, instead of Friday, as planned.
Where does this leave us now?
We have been in close contact with the lead sponsors of our legislation since yesterday afternoon. While prospects for moving either a 12-month or 3-month delay forward before July 1 cuts appear closed, there still may be a chance to move forward after Congress returns from the July 4 recess period, retroactively stopping the July 1 cuts. We are also working with other parties in the Senate and the Administration to directly ask CMS to delay the cuts until legislation can be considered.
Significant challenges remain to moving any rural relief legislation forward. One of the most significant ones is resistance from key constituencies in the House to the proposed Medicaid pay-for.
We will continue to work with leading HME stakeholder groups, state and regional association leaders, and our allies and other influential parties on Capitol Hill to find a way forward. That process began anew yesterday afternoon, continued into the evening, and has resumed again this morning.
Once we have more clarity on how we can move legislation forward that helps the HME industry and is potentially acceptable to important players in both the House and Senate, we will apprise you of our strategy moving forward and how you can once again assist in the effort.
The leaders in this industry who have taken time to build relationships with their legislators and educate and motivate their peers in the HME community deserve a great deal of credit in moving rural relief legislation this far forward. We look forward to working with you in the days and weeks ahead as we resume this effort.