WASHINGTON, D.C. – The House Energy & Commerce Committee has just approved an amended version of H.R. 5555 that extends the 75/25 blended rate in non-CBAs through 2024 but does not include the 90/10 blended rate adjustment for suppliers in former CBAs. The action is a positive development for securing a 75/25 blended rate as part of expected appropriations bills early next year. The Senate Finance Committee included similar 75/25 language from S. 1294 in a health package in November.
Today’s committee action represents a step forward for significant relief for a broad segment of the HME community for 2024. In addition to maintaining rates for suppliers in non-CBAs, these measures would support suppliers working with other payers influenced by these rates, including TRICARE and many Medicaid programs.
“This is a very positive development for getting 75/25 blended rate relief extended for another year, but we need to keep the pressure on to make sure 75/25 relief is included in one of the upcoming appropriations bills,” said Tom Ryan, president & CEO of AAHomecare. “AAHomecare will continue to engage key legislators and committee staff who will be negotiating what gets into those bills, and we’ll be letting HME advocates know when we need them to contact specific Senators and Representatives.”
AAHomecare appreciates the determined efforts of Energy & Commerce Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), E&C Health Committee Chair Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) and H.R. 5555 lead sponsors Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Paul Tonko (D-N.Y.) for their support of the bill. We understand that our champions fought to keep the 90/10 components in the bill until the very end. Unfortunately, opposition from some Democrats on the Committee and difficulty getting a favorable Congressional Budget Office score on the bill proved intractable.
“I know that a lot of suppliers will be disappointed that 90/10 rates for CBAs aren’t moving forward now, and I share in that disappointment,” added Ryan. “Suppliers in all areas deserve Medicare rates that reflect rising product and operational costs. Working with CMS and Congress to align rates with market reality will certainly remain an area of focus for AAHomecare in 2024 and beyond.”
See the amended version of H.R. 5555 here.
Wheelchair Upgrade Bill also Passes E&C
The Energy & Commerce Committee also passed an amended version of H.R. 5371 on Wednesday, legislation to provide Medicare coverage for wheelchairs utilizing titanium or carbon fiber materials. The amended version instructs CMS to establish new HCPCS codes for ultralight manual wheelchairs, including a separate code for ones with titanium or carbon fiber. If the legislation ultimately is passed into law, this change to establish new codes should have the effect of opening up other payers other than traditional Medicare to cover these products.
AAHomecare has been working with mobility stakeholders to support this legislation that will increase patient access to lightweight wheelchairs. Lead sponsor Rep. John Joyce (R-Pa.) and Energy & Commerce leaders Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) also deserve thanks for successfully moving this bill forward. See amended H.R 5371 language here.