AAHomecare members lobby against Medicare cuts

Sunday, June 13, 2004

June 14, 2004

WASHINGTON -  AAHomecare members walked the halls of Congress last week, asking legislators to sponsor the Hobson-Ford legislation that would repeal the FEHPB cuts and to write letters to CMS in support of the industry’s position on respiratory medications.
AAHomecare was still tallying feedback from members on Friday, but overall the association’s staff said the visits were positive.
“I’ve just been hearing in general that there was interest in sponsoring the legislation and that we need to do some follow-up with their offices,” said Asela Cuervo, senior vice president of government relations at AAHomecare.
Danny Davis, D-Ill., agreed to co-sponsor the Hobson-Ford bill, H.R. 4491.
“I can’t see any reason why we wouldn’t,” he told a group of HMEs from Illinois.
HME providers also lobbied members of Congress to write letters to CMS like the one sent by Charlie Norwood, D-Ga. Norwood’s letter spelled out the service costs associated with providing respiratory medications and asked CMS to use its discretionary authority to modify payments appropriately.
Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark., one of the two founders of the newly formed COPD Caucus, told 250 attendees of AAHomecare’s annual legislative conference that her late father died at home, using “every one of the services that you provide.”
Although Lincoln voted for the Medicare drug bill (MMA), she said changes were still possible. 
“Legislation in this city is not a work of art, it’s a work in progress,” she said.
Sen. Michael Crapo, R-Idaho, also a founder of the COPD Caucus, told attendees that he was very supportive of the home care and home respiratory industries.”
“He is going to be a strong advocate, and we need to bring the issues to him and work with him,” said Cuervo.