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Competitive Bidding Rural Relief Bill will be introduced tomorrow; bill to be included in Omnibus package

Rep. Tom Price’s (R-GA) office tonight reports that they are confident the highly anticipated rural relief bill will be introduced tomorrow. Amidst a tight time frame, we are also hearing the bill will find a place in the 2015 Omnibus spending packages. We will confirm both of these points tomorrow or later this week.

Today an article from Health Reform Insider reports, “There also is a chance that lawmakers will use the appropriations bill to mitigate durable medical equipment reimbursement cuts in rural areas driven by competitive bidding prices, sources say.”

It’s time for action, and we’re closer than ever! Let your members of Congress know the importance of the rural relief bill. Here are the talking points once again.

  • The nationwide expansion of the competitive bidding program on Jan.1, 2016 creates up to a 50 percent reimbursement cut, making it difficult to impossible to do business.
  • It is not uncommon for rural providers to travel 100 miles one way to deliver and service medical equipment, which is not accounted for in the reimbursement equation.
  • Home medical equipment companies that provide essential life supporting services to Medicare and other insurance beneficiaries will go out of business.
  • With medical equipment access issues on the rise for items like walkers, wheelchairs and oxygen, Medicare and Medicaid patients are having extreme difficulty receiving the equipment that they desperately need.

Click here to contact your elected officials.

Read the entire article from Inside Health Policy below.

Health Reform Insider
Health Care Policies In Play In Approps, Tax Extender Bills As Congress Finishes Up 2015 Business
Posted: December 7, 2015

Health care policies factor into both the omnibus-appropriations and tax-extenders bills that lawmakers are working on this week, although another short-term spending measure is likely in order to keep the government running past Friday as talks continue on a longer-term package. Although some want to include a hospital site-neutral payment measure in the upcoming spending bill, many lobbyists don’t expect that to happen this year. A more likely amendment is one to give providers a blanket hardship exemption for electronic health-records meaningful use requirements in 2015. There also is a chance that lawmakers will use the appropriations bill to mitigate durable medical equipment reimbursement cuts in rural areas driven by competitive bidding prices, sources say.

Tax extenders legislation also is a potential vehicle for major health care measures, including a delay of the Affordable Care Act’s taxes on the medical device industry and expensive employer-sponsored health plans.

Congressional committees also are busy this week. The Senate Special Committee on Aging on Wednesday holds a hearing as part of its probe into recent price spikes for off-patent drugs. Acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt testifies before the House Energy & Commerce oversight subcommittee on state-run health insurance exchanges, and the health subcommittee discusses six bills, including one to reauthorize nurse-training funding. The Senate health committee holds a hearing on opioid abuse.