House leaders say no to more Medicare cuts

Sunday, April 2, 2006

WASHINGTON - It's looking less likely--but by no means certain--that congressional leaders will pass a FY2007 budget that includes additional cuts to Medicare and Medicaid spending.

President Bush presented a FY2007 budget in February that proposed lowering the cap on oxygen reimbursement from 36 months to 13 months. Last week, the House of Representatives Budget Committee fashioned a $2.8 trillion budget that included no cuts to Medicare reimbursement. Earlier last month, the Senate voted on a budget that also included no Medicare cuts.

With elections coming up in November, it comes as no surprise that lawmakers have shown little desire to cut entitlements and possibly anger voters.

Despite a lack of support for additional Medicare cuts, providers cannot let down their guard and must continue to lobby against the cap on oxygen reimbursement and other DME cuts, say industry leaders. Just because lawmakers appear reluctant to cut Medicare reimbursement in FY2007, doesn't guarantee they won't, sources say.