HR 1717 Needs Cosponsors—You Can Make it Happen!
The Medicare DMEPOS Market Pricing Program Act of 2013, also known as HR 1717, was introduced in the House on April 24 thanks to the bipartisan efforts of Rep. Tom Price, M.D. (R-GA) and Rep. John Larson (D-CT). The legislation had a great start with 25 original cosponsors (five from Ohio) but our goal is to get all Ohio Members of Congress on the bill. (Refer to OAMES Bulletin, 4/26/13 for complete details.)
Kam Yuricich, OAMES executive director, participates in the American Association for Homecare’s State Leaders weekly calls and is encouraged to hear the progress that many states are making to secure more co-sponsors through their grassroots work. According to updates during last week’s call, several more legislators have signed on to the bill. We’re pleased to report that three more from Ohio have indicated they’ll be signing on: Rep. Bob Gibbs, Rep. Jim Renacci, and Rep. Steve Stivers. This this brings the total number of Ohio legislators on the bill to 50% (8 of 16) in less than two weeks!
It’s important to note that while OAMES and its members have been in this fight for many years given Round 1, to most of our HME colleagues, this battle is new. While the industry as a whole has been concerned, many more are now fully engaged and share the urgency that Ohio has faced for years. Expanding a program from nine bidding sites to 91 areas is creating a lot more noise, a lot more problems and a lot more passion to get involved. The excitement and outrage on the weekly calls are revealing we really have an outstanding opportunity to permanently stop this program,
For example, during the last AAHomecare call, we heard from many state associations who are finding serious issues regarding licensure status for awarded companies in their states. Associations are also gathering information about the distance many of these suppliers are located from the bidding area which raises concern about their ability to support these patients during normal conditions, let alone when there are widespread power outages due to severe weather or other unexpected circumstances.
Kam Yuricich is working with Invacare to pull this information for Ohio. A report of these findings will be finalized soon and shared with legislative offices to help them understand the impact on their constituents. This analysis identifies unacceptable problems with CMS’ implementation of the program and reveals more reasons to support HR 1717 and repeal bidding and replace with the sustainable market pricing program.
To keep the momentum going, commit to making a phone call or sending an email to your Representative in the next day or two so it’s fresh on their minds when they return to Capitol Hill this week:
- Call - The Capitol switchboard number is 202-224-3121. A switchboard operator will connect you directly to your Representative’s office.
- Email- Use the letter already written for you in the AAHomecare Action Center or email your legislator’s health legislative assistant directly with your story.
If you have any questions or need assistance, please email Kam Yuricich or call the OAMES office at (614) 876-2424.