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Health-Care Reform

Health-Care Reform

In March 2010, the United States Congress passed two health care reform bills that include provisions that will positively impact the profession of audiology.

H.R. 3590, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, includes “non-discrimination” language that would prohibit health plans from restricting access to care as long as the provider acts within the state licensure’s scope of practice. This measure will benefit audiology by guaranteeing patients the flexibility to select their health-care providers based on individual needs. The Academy worked closely with the Patient’s Access to Responsible Care Alliance (PARCA) to ensure that patients receive the highest quality of health-care from all types of providers.

H.R. 4872, the Reconciliation Act of 2010, includes legislative language that would exempt hearing aids from an excise tax imposed on medical devices. While other Class I devices will be subject to the 2.3% tax, hearing aids, along with eyeglasses and contact lenses, were specifically listed as exempt. The Academy has been extremely active on this issue, weighing-in with Congress and the Administration and asking Academy members to do the same.

Reimbursement

Both the U.S. House and Senate have voted to again avert the more than 21% cuts to reimbursement facing all Medicare providers through the end of May 2010. If Congress does not act again to address the measure prior to the May 31st expiration, all Medicare providers will face a greater than 21% decrease in reimbursement. Visit the Legislative Action Center to write your member of Congress and ask him or her to pass legislation implementing a long-term fix to the flawed SGR formula.

Resources from the White House