WASHINGTON, D.C. – We are down to the final days of Congressional negotiations on end-of-year legislation to keep the government funded, and the stakes are high for a wide range of business interests competing to include their wish lists in the package. This includes, of course, the healthcare sector and the HME community.
Last week, I joined Jay Witter, senior vice president of Public Policy, and our lobbyists from Prime Policy and the Nickles Group, for Capitol Hill meetings with influential legislators and staff from committees of jurisdiction for HME issues to make one more in-person case for our priorities as part of the final bill.
These in-person meetings are part of advocacy efforts by our lobbying team that will continue until the legislation is finalized by Congressional leaders.
We are leaving it all on the field; exhausting all efforts in our intelligence-gathering and outreach in support of our top priorities: provisions from HR 6641, extending CARES Act blended rates in non-CBAs, and preventing widespread PAYGO cuts for all Medicare providers.
From our discussions and subsequent reports, I know that the HME community’s advocacy work is making an impression. One particularly positive development is word that Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) is working with longtime HME champion Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.) to push for continuing the CARES Act in the legislation.
As the second-ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. Stabenow’s support makes for a very strong endorsement. It’s great to see the advocacy work of our Michigan HME stakeholders bear fruit at a critical juncture.
Another piece of good news is yesterday’s statement from Sen. Budget Committee Chair Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) that a broad framework for an omnibus package has been reached, reducing the chances that legislators will need to resort to a shorter-term continuing resolution alternative, which would be much narrower in scope.
As usual, we expect the negotiations to go down to the wire. Congress is expected to extend the current Dec. 16 funding deadline to Dec. 23; that action could come later this evening. Until the end-of-year package is finalized, we’ll be doing everything we can to reinforce your passionate and persistent advocacy efforts over the past year to deliver on Medicare reimbursement priorities.
Tom Ryan and Jay Witter pictured with Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) at upper right.