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  • Senate Health Care Reform Bill Contains Provisions Opposed by APTA

    Despite some changes designed to appeal to a wider range of US senators, the newly released Senate version of health care reform still contains provisions that concern APTA: namely, a loosening of required "essential health benefits" (EHBs) that include rehabilitation services, and changes to Medicaid that could reduce the range of available benefits. Changes are still possible, however, and APTA has plans to reemphasize its positions as the Senate considers the bill.

    The bill, technically a substitute for the American Health Care Act (AHCA) approved by the House of Representatives in May, is characterized as less extensive in its effort to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it contains several of the same features as the House legislation, including plans to cap and then reduce Medicaid appropriations, transition Medicaid to a block grant system, and change EHB requirements-features that APTA has publicly opposed.

    Like the AHCA, the Senate substitute bill weakens the power of federally mandated EHBs—which include physical therapy—by allowing states to apply for waivers to reduce the requirements or eliminate them entirely. The result, according to APTA, is a likely reduction in access to habilitative and rehabilitative services for millions of Americans that could have lasting societal effects. In a statement on the AHCA, APTA President Sharon Dunn, PT, PhD, wrote that the EHB change and other provisions set the stage for a health care system that would create "unneeded barriers to care and reduce the access to care for millions of Americans."

    The bill has yet to undergo review by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and could be altered based on the CBO analysis or compromise efforts within the Senate.

    Meanwhile, APTA is not sitting still. On June 27, association representatives will participate in a congressional briefing on Capitol Hill aimed at educating lawmakers and staff on the value of rehabilitation and habilitation services and devices in American's health care system. The event is sponsored by the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid, the Habilitation Benefits Coalition, and the Coalition to Preserve Rehabilitation. APTA is a member of all 3 groups.

    APTA will continue to analyze and monitor the bill and report on potential effects.

    Comments

    • APTA, Thank you for taking a firm stance on the current proposed healthcare bill! This is when every single of dollar of our APTA dues come to matter. So proud to stand with the APTA organization through thick and thin! Continue to amplify our voices and representation on the political and legislative front! Thank you, Michael Jeanfavre PT, DPT, CSCS Stanford Health Care Palo Alto, CA

      Posted by Michael Jeanfavre on 6/22/2017 11:07 PM

    • Iam happy to see the actions taken by APTA to date and those planned next week. I would hope that they use the action center as a vehicle for members to reach out and send letters to their legislators and to reach out to key contacts to do the same. I believe the more voices the better.

      Posted by James Dunleavy on 6/23/2017 11:51 AM

    • Thank you to APTA staff and Leadership for advocating on behalf of our profession, our patients, our colleagues and the future of our ability to continue providing service to all the people of the U.S.

      Posted by Carolyn Bloom on 6/24/2017 11:05 AM

    • I have been contributing for years since becoming a licensed therapist 15 years ago, and every year it is the same thing. We came up short, tried so hard etc. If I ran my business with no appreciable results for years I wouldn't have a business. When is the APTA actually going to get its agenda passed? You need money to get things through congress not lip service.

      Posted by Brad Nolin on 6/28/2017 1:40 PM

    • thank you very much APTA !

      Posted by kathy andres on 6/28/2017 8:01 PM

    • I applaud the stance apta is,taking to advocate for our professional. however I am interested in whether apta has data on the number of patients we treat who are Medicaid recipients in different specialty atead,and the number of PT s who treat Medicaid recipients. that data could be shared with legislators!!!!!

      Posted by Deborah Eisenberg on 6/29/2017 10:53 PM

    • Anything has to be better than Obamacare!!! Wake up please!

      Posted by Gary on 6/29/2017 10:57 PM

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