Stakeholders still expect bill by CELA

Friday, April 6, 2012

WASHINGTON - A bill to create a separate benefit for complex rehab should be introduced the week of April 16--just in time for the National Call-in Day and CELA on April 18 and 19, respectively, say industry stakeholders. 

"We're at a point now where it looks like the legislation will be introduced and give us a clear ask-for for members of Congress," said Seth Johnson, vice president of government affairs for Pride Mobility Products.

Stakeholders announced in October that Rep. Joseph Crowley, D-N.Y., agreed to introduce the bill. Since then, they've been working with Crowley's office on the bill's language, as well as seeking out a Republican co-sponsor. 

While bipartisan support is still a goal for the bill, stakeholders say Crowley will drop the bill with or without a Republican co-sponsor.

"We don't have a Republican signed on quite yet, but we still have discussions going on," said Don Clayback, executive director of NCART. "So we're still hoping for that, but if we don't get a Republican to co-sponsor, then we'll work on getting Republicans to sign on."

NRRTS Executive Director Simon Margolis hoped to have the bill introduced earlier this year, but the process of getting legislative language that worked for all parties--Crowley's office, the House Ways and Means Committee and the Legislative Counsel--has taken longer than he expected.

"There are no sticking points," he said. "We're all in agreement about what needs to get done. It's just a matter of putting it in a language that various factions in Congress accept. It's been like swimming upstream, but we're still making progress."

The next steps after the bill is dropped: drum up support and find a legislative vehicle, stakeholders say.

"We're excited," said Margolis. "We're really looking forward to getting to the Hill."