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President's Proposed 2009 Medicare Budget Would Weaken Seniors' Access to Durable Medical Equipment and Therapies Required in the Home
Date:2/4/2008

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Association for Homecare opposes provisions in the President's proposed 2009 Medicare budget that would weaken the nation's homecare infrastructure, which provides medically prescribed oxygen, wheelchairs, and other durable medical equipment and therapies to millions of older and disabled Americans.

The President's proposal would heap new cuts on the nation's homecare community by requiring reductions to Medicare reimbursements to home oxygen therapy and wheelchairs. These homecare reductions come on top of numerous other cuts and freezes mandated by Congress in recent years.

"Homecare delivers value for every healthcare dollar, and it is clinically effective and preferred by patients and families," stated Tyler J. Wilson, president of the American Association for Homecare. "These proposed cuts show a complete disregard for the nation's homecare safety net. Some of the reimbursement mechanisms in Medicare should be improved so they align better with beneficiaries' needs. However, these proposed cuts do not improve Medicare and would be bad for patients and providers alike."

The durable medical equipment sector represents about 1.7 percent of the $400 billion-plus in total Medicare spending and is the slowest-growing sector in Medicare. There was 3.8 percent growth in durable medical equipment spending from 2005 to 2006 (the latest year for which figures are available), compared to 19 percent growth for the entire Medicare program spending during the same period.

Additionally, according to a December 2007 Harris survey of 1,000 adults, Americans overwhelmingly prefer to receive home-based care over that delivered by nursing homes and other institutions. Moreover, three out of four (74 percent) Americans agree with the statement, "Homecare is part of the solution to the problem of rapidly increasing Medicare spending for America's seniors." That result is consiste
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SOURCE American Association for Homecare
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