A bipartisan group of lawmakers on Thursday at an event sponsored by the National Home Infusion Association promoted legislation that would provide Medicare coverage for home infusion therapy services, CQ HealthBeat reports. The legislation (S 254 and HR 574) — sponsored by Sens. Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) in the Senate and Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.), Tim Murphy (R-Pa.) and Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) in the House — would amend the Social Security Act to provide such coverage.
Currently, the Medicare prescription drug benefit covers the majority of infusion medications but not most related services, supplies and equipment, the lawmakers said. As a result, many patients must travel to hospitals to receive infusion therapy services because they cannot afford home services, a practice that increases Medicare costs because the program covers services provided in hospitals, according to the lawmakers.
Lincoln said, “Not only is this an extreme hardship for patients and their families, but it adds to health care costs,” adding, “It’s time for Medicare to get on board, and that’s what our bill is about.” Engel said, “It’s common sense legislation” that would “ultimately save the government money” (Attias, CQ HealthBeat, 3/5).
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