Legislative Update April 23, 2012

Submit your issues on competitivebiddingconcerns.com!


All providers are reminded to utilize the competitive bidding concerns website to report any issues with competitive bidding. Providers, referral sources, caregivers, and Medicare beneficiaries may all report to the site.


Go to: www.competitivebiddingconcerns.com

CMS Announces New Federal Office to Keep People with Disabilities in their own Home


CMS is flexing its hypocritical muscles. In the midst of its PR frenzy last week to promote Medicare’s flawed bidding program, HHS/CMS also announced a new federal office that was designed to keep those with disabilities living in their home rather than in nursing homes. According to the HHS statement below from Secretary Sebelius, the Administration for Community Living was created to increase access to community supports and to achieve “full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.”


Just as they announce this new federal program, CMS is working to eliminate a sector of health care that ensure home/community living via competitive bidding.


See Secretary Sebelius’ statement below.


A Statement from Secretary Sebelius on the Administration for Community Living


All Americans – including people with disabilities and seniors – should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions – rather than in nursing homes or other institutions. The Obama administration and my department have long been committed to promoting community living and finding new mechanisms to help ensure that the supports people with disabilities and seniors need to live in the community are accessible.


Today, with the creation of the new Administration for Community Living (ACL), we are reinforcing this commitment by bringing together key HHS organizations and offices dedicated to improving the lives of those with functional needs into one coordinated, focused and stronger entity. The Administration for Community Living will bring together the Administration on Aging, the Office on Disability and the Administration on Developmental Disabilities into a single agency that supports both cross-cutting initiatives and efforts focused on the unique needs of individual groups, such as children with developmental disabilities or seniors with dementia. This new agency will work on increasing access to community supports and achieving full community participation for people with disabilities and seniors.


The Administration on Community Living will seek to enhance and improve the broad range of supports that individuals may need to live with respect and dignity as full members of their communities. These support needs go well beyond health care and include the availability of appropriate housing, employment, education, meaningful relationships and social participation. Building on President Obama’s Year of Community Living, the ACL will pursue improved opportunities for older Americans and people with disabilities to enjoy the fullest inclusion in the life of our nation.


For more information, please visit http://hhs.gov/acl

Trustees say Medicare, Social Security funds running out quickly

Sam Baker, The Hill, April 23, 2012


Medicare and Social Security are on a fast track to deep fiscal problems, trustees for the two programs warned Monday.

By 2024, the trustees said, Medicare’s trust fund won’t be able to cover seniors’ hospital benefits. Social Security is expected to reach the same tipping point in 2033 – three years earlier than the trustees estimated last year.

The funds won’t be entirely empty on those dates, but rather will not be taking in enough money to keep paying 100 percent of the benefits they’re supposed to provide.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the trustees’ reports show a clear need for Congress to make significant changes to entitlement programs, but he continued to hold firm against Republican proposals to partially privatize Medicare.

“We will not support proposals that sow the seeds of their destruction in the name of reform, or that shift the cost of health care to seniors in order to sustain tax cuts for the most fortunate Americans,” Geithner said.


Many Republicans – including presidential candidate Mitt Romney – want to convert Medicare into subsidies to help seniors buy private insurance.


Democrats, though, argue that saving Medicare from insolvency doesn’t have to come at the expense of seniors’ benefits.


The trustees said last year that President Obama’s healthcare overhaul had extended the life of the Medicare trust fund – a point Geithner highlighted Monday.


GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney used the announcement to batter Obama for his handling of entitlement programs.


“Today’s report reminds us that Medicare must be reformed and strengthened or it will soon collapse. It also reminds us that President Obama continues to play shell games with the health care of our seniors, taking hundreds of billions from Medicare to spend on Obamacare and now using a bogus experiment to conceal the damage until after the election,” Romney’s campaign said in a statement.


Lunch Bucket with John Gallagher Coming Soon

Thursday, May 3 at 12:30 p.m. (CT), VGM will be hosting a LIVE Lunch Bucket Webcast, “So Your Bids Are Submitted… Now What?”


Mark your calendars and make sure to join Government Relations VP John Gallagher for “lunch.” Gallagher will discuss CMS’ recent PR blitz, the current status of the Market Pricing Proposal, and the importance of getting involved in this fight.


Stay tuned for additional information to be released soon!


For any questions, please contact Jamie Blomme at 800-642-6065 or jamie.blomme@vgm.com