Tell Congress To Support Access To Wheelchairs

Posted by Reeve Staff in Daily Dose on August 25, 2015 # Advocacy and Policy

Reach out to your members of Congress and tell them to support H.R. 3229 and H.R. 1516/S. 1013.

The Issue:

The federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has taken action over the past several years to limit how much they will pay for wheelchairs and other equipment through a "competitive bidding" program. This program has already restricted access to wheelchairs for people living with paralysis. Last year, they went even further and included complex power chair "accessories" – all of the parts of a chair beyond the base frame. This will take effect January 1, 2016.

The Reeve Foundation is strongly opposed to any restriction in access to the complex, individually configured wheelchairs that people with paralysis need, called Complex Rehabilitation Technology or CRT. We are working with other disability advocates on two bills to reverse these decisions and need your help. Learn more about CRT in this video featuring disability champion Senator Harkin.

The Bills:

The Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Technology Act of 2015 (H.R. 1516 / S. 1013) would establish a new benefit in Medicare for CRT, permanently exempting all CRT from competitive bidding and reforming other aspects to significantly improve access to CRT. It's a bill with a lot of bipartisan support but may take some time to get passed. This bill has been introduced in the House and Senate.

In the meantime, we must stop the change scheduled to take effect in January. H.R. 3229 is a second very short bill that simply reverses the application of competitive bidding to wheelchair "accessories" that will otherwise take effect January 1, 2016. This bill has only been introduced in the House.

We need your help to spread the word and make sure more Members of Congress understand the impact of competitive bidding on access to wheelchairs and sign on to support the bills. We want them to know that ensuring access to CRT is a priority for our community this fall!

You can help rally support for this bill, here's how:

- Email your member of Congress and urge them to sign on to support H.R. 1516/S. 1013 and H.R. 3229.

- Call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121

Ask the operator to be connected to your member of Congress.

Remember your voice is important and we can raise the volume on this critical issue.

Together, we achieve more -- act now