Last week, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014 (S. 2110), which would permanently repeal Medicare therapy caps. This bill would also set up a new system for review of physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy claims.
Currently, people with Parkinson’s disease who use therapy services and are on Medicare will be subject to a cap when the exceptions process expires on March 31. Unless Congress acts before March 31, as soon as people on Medicare hit $1,920 in therapy services, they will either be forced to stop therapy or pay 100 percent of the cost for these services.
A similar bill was passed in the Republican-led House of Representatives last week but it did not include a permanent repeal of the therapy caps and also included a delay of the enforcement of penalties for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate for five years. This delay would be used to pay for the bill. The inclusion of language about the ACA’s individual mandate means the House bill would not get support from the Democratic-led Senate. However, if the Senate passes S. 2110, there is a chance that Congress could come to some middle ground between the House and Senate bills in a conference committee that would include a permanent repeal of Medicare therapy caps and an agreed upon way to pay for the legislation.
We are hearing that the Senate will vote on this legislation the week of March 24 and it needs at least 60 votes to move forward. Contact your Senators today and ask them to support S. 2110, the Medicare SGR Repeal and Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2014. It is important that the Parkinson’s community continues to tell Congress that access to physical, occupational, and speech-language therapy services should be a top priority. Learn more.