The members of the supercommittee have been subject to an enormous amount of lobbying in recent weeks, and a huge portion of it has come from the health-care industry. According to the Sunlight Foundation, nearly 30 percent of the lobbyists in the third quarter represent health-care groups, many of them pleading with the deficit-reduction committee to spare their interests. Kaiser Health News has compiled some of their suggestions into an “interest group wish list” to show how much pressure the members are facing. Here are just a few of their suggestions:
—American Occupational Therapy Association: Wants “a permanent repeal of Medicare’s annual financial cap on physical therapy, speech-language pathology services and outpatient occupational therapy,” according to Kaiser. The group’s argument: “An arbitrary therapy cap on outpatient services without regard to clinical appropriateness of care discriminates against the most vulnerable of Medicare beneficiaries.”
—Kidney Care Partners: “We in the kidney care community urge you to avoid across-the-board cuts...Because Medicare becomes available to individuals upon diagnosis with kidney failure rather than age, approximately 80 percent of all dialysis patients are Medicare beneficiaries.”
—National Association of Chain Drug Stores: “[I]t is not possible or advisable to consider spending on prescription drugs in a vacuum, separate from the substantial cost avoidance that they make possible. Furthermore, community pharmacy’s role in maximizing the effectiveness of prescription drugs makes community pharmacy’s value unsurpassed within healthcare delivery.”
Many more here. Almost makes you pity the members of the supercommittee, doesn’t it?