Preserving Home Health Care Under Medicare

Floor Speech

By:  Dennis Ross
Date: Sept. 13, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

Mr. ROSS of Florida. Mr. Speaker, the President has twice told the American public, through his budget and deficit reduction proposals, that he believes our seniors should be paying more for Medicare if they want to stay in their homes. Twice in the past two years, President Obama has proposed mandating that Medicare beneficiaries pay--for the first time since the Medicare program came into existence--an additional out of pocket charge for their home health care services. Twice, President Obama has told seniors that they must choose between getting their care at home, where they have lived for years, and moving away from their homes, their belongings, and their communities to get their daily care at a nursing home or hospital.

Mr. Speaker, this choice is not only unnecessary, it is inefficient. Home health care providers deliver care management services, vital daily care, and in-home health care services at a low cost. We shouldn't tell our seniors, our parents, that they must choose between their home or their health care. We should keep home health care free of co-payments to ensure that they have the ability to remain in their homes, in their communities, and with their families and memories.

This is just another example of why ``Medicare as we know it'' will be bankrupt in ten years. Seniors who prefer home health care should always retain that option and be provided choices of plans that will ensure their wishes are granted, rather than live at the whim of unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats. Dignity, care, and being home are small comforts when one is ill, or dying. But, eliminating a cost effective provision of care that current seniors expect, paid into and bargained for, is wrong. Medicare must change for the future, and seniors deserve choice, but for those currently or near entering the system, the rules should not be changed at the last minute.

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