On Wednesday, July 8, 2008, by a vote of 69-30, the Senate approved Medicare legislation (H.R. 6331) to prevent a 10.6% payment cut to physicians. In addition to preventing harmful payment cuts to physicians, this Medicare bill includes other important provisions which would improve care for individuals with brain injury.These critical provisions include an 18-month extension of the Medicare outpatient therapy caps exceptions process, a component of the bill strongly supported by advocates working to improve access to vital rehabilitation therapies for individuals with brain injury.
The bill also includes a much-needed 18-month delay in the implementation of the Medicare Durable Medical Equipment, Orthotics, Prosthetics and Supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program, and spares power wheelchairs and oxygen equipment from deep cuts. If the competitive bidding program is implemented as currently scheduled, it stands to negatively impact many users of assistive technology devices, including individuals with brain injury.
Despite these important provisions, it is anticipated that President Bush will veto the bill, and although the Senate passed the bill with a veto-proof margin earlier this week, the White House needs only three Senators to switch their votes in order for a veto override to fail. If the President delays acting on the bill, or Congress is unable to override an expected veto, the physician payment cuts and DME competitive bidding program will go into effect, and the outpatient therapy caps exceptions process will continue to be expired (as of June 30, 2008).
Click here to “Take Action” to call your Senator TODAY and urge him or her to support the Medicare package (H.R. 6331) and vote to override a presidential veto of the bill if one is issued.