Congressman Zeldin Re-Introduces Bill to Protect People with Disabilities’ Access to Critical Equipment
Washington, DC - Congressman Lee Zeldin (R, NY-1) re-introduced his bipartisan bill to protect people with disabilities, by ensuring they have access to vital equipment (H.R. 1361). The Congressman’s legislation, which clarifies the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA) of 2008, is an important bill to secure the essential specialized power wheelchairs and related accessories relied on by people with disabilities and their families. You can view a copy of the bill text here: ZELDIN_010_xml.pdf
Under MIPPA of 2008, complex rehabilitation technology devices would be excluded from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Competitive Bidding Program. Excluded devices include power wheelchairs and the related accessories, which are the fundamental parts of the products that make them useful and beneficial to people with progressed disabilities—such as recline/tilt systems, specialty controls and seat/back cushions. In November 2014, CMS issued a ruling contrary to MIPPA, which stated that starting in January 2016, accessories that are used on complex rehabilitative wheelchairs will no longer be part of the fixed fee schedule, but would be subject to competitive bidding pricing, which unfortunately has the practical effect of decreasing access to the individually configured wheelchairs and accessories relied on by adults and children with disabilities. In December 2016, the 21st Century Cures Act (H.R. 34), which Congressman Zeldin cosponsored in the House, was signed into law, providing a six month delay in the application of Medicare competitive bid pricing for complex rehab power wheelchairs and accessories. Now, Congress must act to ensure that a more permanent fix is granted.
Congressman Zeldin said, “I am proud to re-introduce my bill to ensure those with disabilities can access the complex rehabilitative equipment they require to meet their medical needs and function at the highest level possible. My legislation will provide a commonsense clarification to existing law to ensure that those in the Medicare program do not have to go through the difficulty of adjusting to new rules and pricing arbitrarily reached by CMS to receive equipment that they need. Providing support for those who need it the most has been a principle Americans have stood by for generations. I will continue working to get this bill passed in both the House and Senate to protect Americans dealing with the challenges from disabilities such as ALS, Cerebral Palsy, Multiple Sclerosis, Spinal Cord Injury, and many other debilitating illnesses. Americans with disabilities must always have access to the resources they need to live independently and happily.”
In the 114th Congress, Congressman Zeldin’s bill (H.R. 3229), which had 146 bipartisan cosponsors, as well as a Senate companion bill (S. 2196), was referred to the House Subcommittee on Health. The legislation was fully supported by the ALS Association, Muscular Dystrophy Association, National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Paralyzed Veterans of America, VetsFirst and United Spinal Association. Last year, Congressman Zeldin testified in support of his bill at a House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee hearing on June 8, 2016. You can watch the testimony here.