WASHINGTON, Aug. 18, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- A new national survey finds registered voters overwhelming support Congressional action to stop cuts to the Medicare home health benefit, which are estimated to directly affect more than one million seniors and nearly half a million home health professionals. The poll also found that a majority of Americans are more likely to support a lawmaker who takes action to prevent recent Medicare home health cuts.
Beginning January 1, 2014, the Medicare home health benefit was subjected to a 14 percent cut in funding due to the imposition of a four-year, 3.5 percent per year rebasing adjustment implemented as part of the Affordable Care Act. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) this cut will cause "approximately 40 percent" of all home health providers to operate at a loss by 2017. This cut was opposed by lawmakers, senior advocates, home health providers, and small business experts due to the threat it poses to low-cost, high quality home healthcare.
Last week's survey results signal that opposition to the cut remains high. Key findings of the survey include:
- 85.6% of respondents favor the delivery of Medicare home health services to homebound seniors.
- 81.5% of respondents think lawmakers in Congress should take action to prevent harm to American seniors and home health professionals that will result from the 14 percent funding cut to Medicare home health services.
- 71.8% of respondents are more likely to vote for a Member of Congress who votes in favor of legislation to protect Medicare home health services by replacing funding cuts with reforms that improve quality, protect patients and avoid an increase in Medicare costs.
On July 15, Congressmen Greg Walden (R-OR) and Tom Price (R-GA) introduced the Securing Access Via Excellence (SAVE) Medicare Home Health Act (H.R. 5110), which offers an alternative to the 14 percent, four-year cuts instituted by CMS on January 1. The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act would repeal the rebasing cuts and replace them with hospital readmission reform to achieve savings by improving care for Medicare beneficiaries and reducing avoidable spending.
These survey questions were conducted as part of a McLaughlin & Associates National Omnibus Poll on August 8. The poll surveyed 1000 registered voters (RVs) and has an error margin of ±3.1 percent. The national RV sample is 37.5 percent Democrat, 32 percent Republican and 30.5 percent Independent.
A separate poll by AARP, surveying North Carolina voters age 50 and over, found that the vast majority (77 percent) would prefer at-home care to other options such as assisted living facilities or skilled nursing facilities. Seventy-four (74) percent of respondents also indicated that it is extremely important that their elected officials make the availability of at-home care a top priority.
"These survey results indicate that American voters – across all political affiliations – are deeply opposed to Medicare home health cuts and support replacing these harmful cuts with sustainable, pro-patient reforms," said Eric Berger, CEO of the Partnership. "The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act offers Congress an opportunity to enact a Medicare policy an overwhelming majority of Americans support."
All survey questions and results are available at www.homehealth4america.org.
The Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare was established to assist government officials in ensuring access to skilled home healthcare services for seniors and disabled Americans. Representing community- and hospital-based home healthcare agencies across the United States, the Partnership is dedicated to developing innovative reforms to improve the quality, efficiency and integrity of home healthcare. To learn more, visit www.homehealth4america.org. To join the home healthcare policy conversation, connect with us on Facebook, Twitter and our blog.
SOURCE Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare