Today, Senator Arlen Specter (D-Pa.) distributed a Dear Colleague letter asking for signatures in support of a delay in the elimination of the first-month purchase option. A similar House letter is circulating, authored by Representatives Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), co-chair of the Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus, and Glenn Thompson (R-Pa.).
Urge Senators and Representative to join these Dear Colleague letters by adding their signatures. You can reach your Representative by calling the Capitol Hill switchboard at 202-224-3121. You can also follow-up with an e-mail.
In the case of both the House and Senate letters, the chief authors are seeking bipartisan support as they gather new signatures.
ACTION ON SENATE LETTER: Urge your Senator to contact Senator Specter’s office to sign on to the Senate letter. The deadline for the Senate letter is Thursday, September 23.
ACTION ON HOUSE LETTER: Urge your member of Congress to Rep. James Langevin’s office or Rep. Glenn Thompson’s office. The deadline for the House letter is Wednesday, September 22.
The reason for the delay, which is the most realistic legislative option for a remedy now, is to allow providers to better prepare for the change and implement the change when the credit markets improve so that power wheelchair providers are better able to secure necessary financing. According to AAHomecare’s analysis, the elimination of the purchase option will reduce provider cash flow by 40 percent in the first year the policy change is implemented.
The elimination of the purchase option will create access problems to power wheelchairs, leading to beneficiaries facing increased hospitalizations, home health visits, and other clinical services for falls or other injuries suffered by those with compromised mobility.
Bipartisan support for this effort is critical. Currently, the following Representatives have signed on to the House letter:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D)
Rep. Betsy Markey (D)
Rep. Mark Kirk (R)
Rep. Aaron Schock (R)
Rep. Dan Burton (R)
Rep. James Oberstar (D)
Rep. Paul Hodes (D)
Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D)
Rep. Howard Coble (R)
Rep. Paul Kanjorski (D)
Rep. Mark Critz (D)
Rep. Kathy Dahlkemper (D)
Rep. Mike Doyle (D)
Rep. Glenn Thompson (R)
Rep. Jason Altmire (D)
Rep. Christopher Carney (D)
Rep. Tim Holden (D)
Rep. James Langevin (D)
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R)
Rep. Alan Mollohan (D)
Rep. Steve Kagen (D)
Northern Mariana Islands
Del. Gregorio Sablan (D)
Supporting organizations listed at the bottom of the sign-on letter include:
• American Association for Homecare
• American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
• Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL)
• National Council on Independent Living (NCIL)
• National Spinal Cord Injury Association (NSCIA)
• Paralyzed Veterans of America
• Post-Polio Health International
• United Spinal Association
To view a video about this provision, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MCujBJpnHA