NAHC to Congress: Stop Upcoming Medicare Cuts

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice is advancing its advocacy campaign in defense of Medicare by again urging members of Congress (see new letter) to quickly move to head off looming cuts to Medicare. NAHC first wrote to Congressional leaders in late October, urging them to work together to enact legislative proposals by year’s end that will prevent tens of billions of dollars in harmful Medicare rate cuts to health care providers.

Joining NAHC in urging Congress to stop Medicare cuts were the National Hospice and Palliative Care Association and LeadingAge.

We need to add your voices to ours, so NAHC strongly urges you to go to our Advocacy Center and send a message to your members of Congress to stop the massive looming Medicare cuts. The message has been pre-written and it will take you literally only seconds to send it with a few clicks. Please do this immediately!

The joint letter, which was sent to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), asks Congress to take action soon to delay or avert scheduled cuts to Medicare that are a result of both the re-imposition of across-the-board sequestration reductions, as well as required cuts due to the budgetary impacts of the American Rescue Plan of 2021, the massive COVID-19 relief package that became law in March 2021 (these are the so-called “PAYGO” cuts). Absent additional congressional action, these combined six percent cuts to Medicare will take effect on January 1, 2022.

Imposing drastic payment cuts on high-quality home-based care providers while we’re still battling a pandemic and cases are rising will decrease patient and family access to critical supportive services at a time when they have never been in higher demand.” Said NAHC President Bill Dombi. “We have appreciated Congress’ swift action in the past to avert these types of cuts, and we call on our champions on Capitol Hill again to delay the impending reductions so that providers can continue to serve vulnerable Medicare beneficiaries in the place they prefer – their own homes and communities.”

America’s front line health care providers continue to struggle through the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a historically challenging workforce shortage, both of which have placed unprecedented stress on the entire health care system. Home health and hospice providers are working tirelessly to deliver the best care for patients, families and communities, despite battling major operational pressures. Ongoing financial challenges for home care providers include higher expenses for labor and supplies, lost revenues due to forgone routine visits, and increased emergency costs associated with COVID-19 surges, among others.

The pandemic remains a major threat to both patient safety and provider operational capacity. Allowing the combined scheduled Medicare cuts to take effect on January 1, 2022 will reduce access to high-quality home-based medical and social services for those individuals and families who have never needed them more.

NAHC is grateful that Congress has in the recent past taken action to delay scheduled Medicare cuts during the pandemic. This necessary relief has mitigated harmful disruptions in service delivery and access to high-quality home health and hospice care. Sadly, many of the pandemic conditions that justified the waiver of these reductions in the recent past are still with us, impacting home care providers’ ability to fully respond to the needs of the communities they serve. As such, NAHC is respectfully asking that Congress pass legislation before the end of this year that will avert the impending two percent sequestration and four percent PAYGO-induced Medicare reimbursement reductions.

NAHC will continue to advocate on this important issue for Medicare home health and hospice providers and we will update you in future editions of NAHC Report. Please stay tuned.