Lawmakers have a lot to answer for when providers make Hill visits Tuesday

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When long-term care providers hit Capitol Hill Tuesday their congressmen better be prepared.

Members of the American Association of Homes and Services for the Aging, who will be in Washington for their annual advocacy meeting, will make several important requests. Among them: Reinstate the exceptions process for Medicare Part B therapy caps, increase the Medicare market basket for fiscal year 2011. Also, by the way, how about that healthcare reform bill?

Of course, long-term care providers will be more diplomatic with their talking points, but the underlying message is clear: It's time to take some action.

Coincidentally, the congressional visit falls the same week President Obama is staging a healthcare summit. Its stated goal is to iron out partisan differences that are holding back healthcare reform. The invitation may be an admirable gesture, but already it appears to be on shaky ground.

A recent news report found that Democrats may not have any concrete plans to present and Republicans aren't buying what's on the table. The gridlock is enough to make you throw up your arms and take the next flight to Vancouver. (At least there things are getting decided. So what if it's an Olympic medal instead of a jobs bill and on the ice rink instead of the Senate floor!)

But the reality is certain items, like the therapy caps provision, desperately need Congress to act. People's health is at stake.

Lawmakers should not take lightly the visits from their AAHSA constituents. These people are not just coming to complain. Providers and their residents sincerely are asking for solutions.


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McKnight's Daily Editors' Notes features commentary on the latest in long-term care news and issues. Entries are written by Editorial Director John O'Connor, Editor James M. Berklan, Senior Editor Elizabeth Newman and Staff Writer Marty Stempniak.

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