Nearly 90% of Seniors Oppose Medicare Cuts to Home Health

Seniors vastly oppose additional cuts to the Medicare home health benefit, with nearly 90% voicing concerns that cuts would do more harm than good, according to new polling data from Bring the Vote Home.

An initiative created to help seniors, disabled Americans, their family members and their home healthcare clinicians participate in the nation’s democratic process, Bring the Vote Home’s poll shows that 89% of American seniors oppose more cuts to Medicare payments for home healthcare services.

“The proposed cut threatens to undermine Medicare’s home health benefit, without which millions of seniors will be forced to receive care outside their home, away from their families and in more expensive care settings,” said Marcia Tetterton, chair of the Council of State Home Care Associations. “This clearly isn’t what our nation’s seniors want.”

Tetterton may be right, as the poll also revealed that 87% of the 4,533 surveyed registered voters aged 65 and older prefer to receive medical treatment at home. 

“Senior voters clearly value receiving healthcare services at home and are counting on the Administration and Congress to protect their access to the skilled home health services they need,” Tetterton said. 

Among those surveyed, 85% of seniors think President Obama and Congress should take action to prevent the proposed cuts to the Medicare home health benefit. 

Additionally, 79% of seniors said they are more likely to support lawmakers who fight to preserve home health and take action to stop the proposed Medicare cuts, which have totaled $72.5 billion since 2009.

The cuts proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in June call for a rebasing of home health Medicare payments by 3.5% annually from 2014 to 2017.

These cuts, which would total 14% in reductions to the Medicare home health benefit, would have a cataclysmic impact on home health, according to industry leaders. 

“These polling results underscore concerns raised by leaders from seniors groups, patient advocates and the home health community,” said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare. “As a result, we urge the Administration and Congressional officials to take action to ensure that senior citizens and disabled Americans will continue to have access to patient-preferred home healthcare.”

Written by Jason Oliva