Friday, October 31, 2008

Candidates Views on Homecare

This historic election and the past year of policy changes related to homecare has prompted many within the HME community to ask which candidates and parties will be friendlier toward the durable medical equipment sector. The American Association for Homecare doesn’t endorse candidates, but we do work closely with and contribute to both Democrats and Republicans because HME issues are not usually partisan.

To help in your research, AAHomecare has gleaned information from both of the presidential candidates’ websites, the debates, and from the Kaiser Health Foundations 2008 Presidential Candidates Comparison website (

Both Senators consider homecare to be important and want to strengthen long term care policies. Barack Obama’s website state’s he supports the Community Choice Act of 2007 which would allow Americans with significant disabilities the choice of living in their community rather than having to live in a nursing home or other institution. He also supports Community Living Assistance Services and Supports (CLASS) Act which creates a voluntary budget-neutral national insurance program to assist adults with functional disabilities, allowing them to remain independent and in their communities. During the Republican ABC-Facebook debates which took place early in January, in Manchester, NH, John McCain advocated for home healthcare: “We need incentives for home healthcare as opposed to long term care. In my state of Arizona we adopted a proposal which incentivizes health care providers to keep people in home health care settings. It’s dramatically less expensive than long term care. In Arizona we have one half the numbers of people per capita in long term care facilities as the state of Pennsylvania. Incentives to keep cost down…there are no incentives in the system today.”

Both have made statements on Medicare fraud as well. Obama says he would empower the HHS Inspector General to fight fraud, implement anti-fraud measures in CMS contracting, expand the scope of Medicare and Medicaid audits, strengthen the federal False Claims Act, encourage states to go after fraud, and increase funding for Justice Department prosecutors and FBI agents to fight fraud. McCain simply states he advocates a zero tolerance policy towards Medicare fraud.

This is an important election year for congressional seats as well. Homecare has very strong champions in both political parties and we encourage DME providers to introduce themselves to the candidates and make sure new members of the Senate and House understand the value of homecare to their local communities. This is particularly important since most of the homecare policy has come out of Congress (not necessarily the White House) over the years.

AAHomecare encourages you to read both candidates healthcare plans and pay close attention to the congressional races. And don’t forget to vote on November 4!

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