Yesterday, members of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Energy and Commerce Committee issued letters to the Joint Commission on Deficit Reduction, also known as the Super Committee, encouraging it to use any health care savings to first resolve the long standing issues of the sustainable growth rate (SGR) and Medicare extenders, including the therapy cap exceptions process.
"The sustainable growth rate system … must be replaced with a sustainable, fair policy that encourages coordinated care," said the Energy and Commerce Committee. "And a series of modest but essential 'health extenders' needs to be enacted with any health savings." The committee further stated that these provisions must be addressed "to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries can continue to access physical, occupational and speech therapy."
In its letter, the Ways and Means Committee called for Medicare savings to first be used to "strengthen the program by extending expiring provisions and by permanently reforming the physician payment system to ensure continued access to care."
The Super Committee is tasked with finding $1.2-$1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. The letters will play a critical role in APTA's advocacy work on therapy caps and payment reform this fall and reaffirms congressional willingness to address these important issues.