​Summer 2022 Roundup Health Policy Blog: Part 2

Posted by Reeve Foundation Staff in Daily Dose on September 08, 2022 # Advocacy and Policy

captiolThe Reeve Foundation continues its advocacy efforts and updates the community on the disability policy that has taken place over the 2022 summer months.

Inflation Reduction Act:

For the past 19 months, since Democrats took control of both chambers of Congress, Democrats have worked to enact major portions of President Biden’s domestic agenda into law. This culminated on August 16, as President Joe Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) into law. This scaled-down version of the Build Back Better Act included a number of President Biden’s biggest campaign promises. The bill represents the largest climate investment in US history. It would also make major changes to health care policy by giving Medicare the power to negotiate the prices of certain prescription drugs and would cap prescription costs at $2,000 out-of-pocket for Medicare recipients. Additionally, it would help an estimated 13 million Americans pay for health care insurance by extending Affordable Care Act premium subsidies first provided during the coronavirus pandemic.

While the bill reflects some of the Reeve Foundation’s advocacy priorities, it fails to address the need for funding of Home- and Community-Based Services (HCBS). When President Biden released his first budget in March 2021, it called for an investment of $400 billion to support home health care for Americans with disabilities and aging. This was welcome news, as the disability community has been strongly advocating for additional home health care support since the pandemic's start.

The House ultimately included $150 billion in home care funding in its version of the Build Back Better legislation. Smaller than the president’s request, but still a significant investment. The Senate’s final negotiations in the IRA ultimately stripped out investments that would have transformed the way that people accessed childcare, paid leave, and Home- and Community-Based Services for people with disabilities and older adults.

The Reeve Foundation has been advocating for an investment in HCBS for the past two years through congressional meetings, Action Alerts, Calls to Action and webinars. We will continue to urge support for additional funding and will be monitoring any developments in the future.

Medicare Coverage of Seat Elevation Systems in Power Wheelchairs:

On August 15, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the opening of a National Coverage Analysis (NCA) for coverage of Power Seat Elevation Systems in power wheelchairs. The Reeve Foundation is pleased by this good news and patiently awaits this announcement. Now is the time for all our Complex Rehabilitation Technology (CRT) advocates to submit their own comments supporting the request for National Coverage Determination (NCD) of Power Seat Elevation Systems during the open public comment period set to end on Wednesday, September 14, 2022.

Unfortunately, CMS also announced it will not be reviewing Medicare coverage for Power Standing Systems and will postpone that review to a later date. We are disappointed with this decision, since Power Standing Systems were included in the Independence Through Enhancement of Medicare and Medicaid (ITEM) Coalition’s initial September 2020 request for coverage. We will be actively working with our coalition partners and Congressional supporters to persuade CMS to open the public comment period for Power Standing Systems as soon as possible.

The Reeve Foundation encourages you to share your views and let CMS know why providing access to these technologies is important. CMS must receive comments with your unique voice and explain why you support coverage of Power Seat Elevation Systems. Tell them about the numerous health benefits you experienced, talk about the functional benefits, and conclude with a message of gratitude for the opportunity to submit your comment. Please submit your comments here. Additionally, you can also view our recent Call to Action to obtain related links, background information, educational materials, and tips for writing a successful comment to CMS.

The Reeve Foundation’s Public Policy and Advocacy Team thanks everyone who advocated for these priorities over the past couple of months. We must build on this momentum as we shift focus to finishing up fiscal year 2023 appropriations this fall and work to achieve more legislative wins this year.

If you are interested in joining our efforts, sign up to receive advocacy updates or contact Gerard Arnum, our Grassroots Advocacy Manager, at [email protected]. Also, please join us for our next Regional Champions advocacy webinar on Tuesday, September 27, 2022, at 1 pm EDT.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.