Eight in 10 Americans Oppose Medicare Cuts to Home Health

More than eight in 10 registered voters support action to prevent cuts to Medicare Home Health, a recent national survey finds. 

The cuts are estimated to directly affect more than one million seniors and nearly half a million home health professionals. 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed changes July 1 that would reduce Medicare payments to home health agencies by 0.3%, or $58 million, in 2015.

On Jan. 1, 2014, the Medicare home health benefit was subjected to a 14% cut in funding due to the four-year, 3.5% per year rebasing adjustment implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act. 

The cut could cause as many as 40% of all home health providers to operate at a loss by 2017, according to a statement released by the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

As an alternative to the 14%, four-year cuts instituted by CMS on Jan. 1, Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act (H.R. 5110) on July 15.

The national survey found that 85.6% of respondents favor the delivery of Medicare home health services to homebound seniors; and 81.5% of respondents think lawmakers in Congress should take action to prevent harm to American seniors and home health professionals that will result from the 14% funding cut to Medicare home health services.

The study, conducted as part of a McLaughlin & Associates National Omnibus Poll on Aug. 8, surveyed 1,000 registered voters spanning political party ties. 

“These survey results indicate that American voters – across all political affiliations – are deeply opposed to Medicare home health cuts and support replacing these harmful cuts with sustainable, pro-patient reforms,” said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership.

Based on recent data, CMS estimates that about 3.5 million beneficiaries received home health services from nearly 12,000 home health agencies, costing Medicare approximately $18 billion in 2013.

Access the survey here

Written by Cassandra Dowell

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