LoBiondo Votes to Reauthorize State Children's Health Insurance Program
U.S. Representative Frank A. LoBiondo (NJ-02) today voted in favor of H.R. 3162, the "Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007," which would reauthorize the state children's health insurance coverage program (SCHIP) and provide $50 billion in new funding to expand this popular initiative.
"SCHIP continues to be an efficient, effective means to ensure the neediest children in our communities have health insurance. New Jersey recognizes and responds to the need to provide coverage to our children and this legislation will only strengthen those ongoing efforts. It is critical that Congress continue programs that have strong national support and accomplish real results," said LoBiondo.
H.R. 3162 would also help more than 144,000 of the poorest seniors in New Jersey with Medicare drug costs. It would help close the coverage gap or "doughnut hole" and assist in payments for premiums and copays for more low-income beneficiaries.
Additionally, LoBiondo was pleased that a permanent fix to Medicare's "75 Percent Rule" was included in the House-passed bill. Under the current rule, sixty-five percent of a rehab facility's admissions must fall within a specific list of conditions in order for that facility to be categorized as a rehabilitation hospital and receive Medicare funding. Without intervention, the percentage is set to increase to seventy-five percent by 2009. LoBiondo has long worked to retain access to rehabilitative care for the elderly and disabled and has previously secured a one-year delay in increasing the percentage. Earlier this year, LoBiondo introduced the "Preserving Patient Access to Inpatient Rehabilitation Hospitals Act of 2007" (H.R. 1459) to return that requirement to the sixty percent level.
"Every day, patients throughout America are being turned away from rehabilitation hospitals because of unfair bureaucratic rules," continued LoBiondo. "The 75 Percent Rule' is taking a toll on the health and recovery of Americans. I have been committed in finding a way to change the way the '75 Percent Rule' is being implemented and am pleased this legislation will do just that."
Furthermore, H.R. 3162 prevents a scheduled 15 percent reduction in Medicare reimbursement payments to physicians nationwide for the next two years. LoBiondo has consistently supported efforts to find a long-term fix to the scheduled physician cuts which will ensure beneficiaries can continue to seek treatment from their local doctors.
The American Medical Association and AARP, who represents nearly 39 million seniors, have endorsed the "Children's Health and Medicare Protection Act of 2007."