Saturday, December 5, 2009

Isakson Votes to Preserve Medicare Home Health Services for Millions of Seniors

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today voted for an amendment that would have prevented the Democrats’ health care plan from cutting $42.1 billion from Medicare home health services.

Senate Democrats defeated the motion by Senator Mike Johanns, R-Neb., to send the bill back to the Senate Finance Committee with instructions to remove all home health cuts by a vote of 41-53.

“We are talking about cutting services that greatly reduce the cost of health care and improve the quality of life of America’s seniors. We are taking away an affordable, effective way to deliver health care to millions of Americans,” Isakson said. “The Democrats want to slash this vital program that keeps seniors out of the hospital and in their own homes to help fund their terribly flawed, outrageously expensive, government-run health care system. I will continue to vote to protect our seniors.”

On the Senate floor, Isakson referenced a letter he received from the Georgia Association for Home Health Agencies in support of the Johanns amendment. If the Senate bill becomes law, Adams stated 68 percent of the Medicare certified home health agencies in Georgia would go out of business, forcing the patients they serve to be re-hospitalized or seek alternative, more costly care.

According to the National Association for Homecare and Hospice, Georgia home health providers would lose over $967 million under the Senate health care proposal.

Home health services include skilled nursing care, home health aide services and medical social services as well as physical therapy, speech-language therapy and occupational therapy.
Nurses, therapists, home care aides and others who serve elderly and disabled patients in their own homes care for nearly 12 million patients annually with 428 million visits.

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