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Letter: Medicare cuts will affect people

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Medicare cuts in Washington aren’t just policies on paper, they affect real people and have potentially serious consequences. This is certainly the case with home health care today with seniors and health care professionals bearing the brunt of a drastic cut to the Medicare home health benefit.

Starting in January of this year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid implemented an unprecedented cut of 14 percent to Medicare home health funding over the next four years, jeopardizing seniors’ access to clinically advanced, cost-effective home health care.

Across the county, this cut puts millions of Medicare patients at risk of losing access to their preferred home health care, potentially forcing many to seek alternative medical care in costly institutional settings, or worse, forgo necessary treatment.

To remedy this harmful cut, lawmakers in Washington have stepped up to the plate and introduced the Securing Access Via Excellence Medicare Home Health Act. This legislation would repeal the arbitrary cuts and replace them with responsible reforms that achieve savings by reducing avoidable spending and providing improved, coordinated care to patients.

The SAVE Medicare Home Health Act also incentives home health agencies to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital, potentially generating significant savings for the Medicare program.

I commend the lawmakers in Washington for protecting home health for our nation’s most vulnerable seniors and strongly urge our state’s lawmakers to co-sponsor this valuable piece of legislation to ensure that Washington’s policies are written with seniors in mind.

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