Legislative Update For The Week Ending October 7, 2011

Legislative Update For The Week Ending October 7, 2011

This week on Capitol Hill, TSCL-backed H.R. 787 gained another
co-sponsorship and Medicare overhaul continued to highlight the week’s

Support Grows for Key Bill

Rep. Tim Scott (SC-1) signed on to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher’s No
Social Security for Illegal Immigrants Act
(H.R. 787). The co-sponsor total
is now up to 65.

This bill amends Title II of the Social Security Act to exclude
illegal immigrants from receiving credit from past work toward future benefits.
The current law denies illegal immigrants Social Security benefits; however, it
does take into account past work history if legal citizenship is obtained.

Supreme Court expected to weigh in on the Patient
Protection and Affordable Healthcare Act

The Supreme Court began its new term this week and the President’s
historic healthcare overhaul legislation will headline the court’s agenda.
After a three-month recess, the court will hear legal challenges aimed at
striking the “individual mandate” clause of the law.  The court will determine
“whether the federal government can issue a mandate that Americans purchase and
maintain health insurance from a private company for the entirety of their

Senate Committee on Finance Uncovers Medicare

On Monday, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.)
and senior Finance Committee Member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) released a Finance
Committee staff report showing tactics used by major for-profit home health
companies to exploit the Medicare system.  According to the committee’s
findings, the three largest for-profit home health companies urged their
therapists to outline a regimen that increased profitable patient visits.

Medicare Part A spends 19 billion dollars a year on home health
companies and the committee lamented their fraudulent activity’s impact on
taxpayers.  “The gaming of Medicare represents serious abuse of the home health
program,” said Baucus.  “Elderly patients in the Medicare system should not be
used as pawns to increase a company’s profits.  Especially in these tough
economic times, taxpayers simply cannot afford for their dollars to be wasted on
unnecessary care.  We are going to continue to crack down on these companies to
ensure taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and Medicare patients are

Supercommittee hears from American Medical Association

The much-ballyhooed Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction,
or “Supercommittee,” heard from the AMA as they urged the twelve-member council
to consider medical liability reforms.  Physicians lobbied the committee for a
250,000 dollar liability protection cap on “non-economic damages.” Additionally,
the Independent Payment Advisory Board that would make decisions on cutting
Medicare reimbursements came under attack from a group of specialist
physicians.  According to the AMA, major Medicare decisions would “rest in the
hands of 15 unelected and largely unaccountable individuals.”