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Talking About It

Contact your Senator about Better Care Act

Posted: Jun 29, 2017

"The Better Care Reconciliation Act"

The U.S.Senate has introduced its bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). It is being called "The Better Care Reconciliation Act." As currently written, that bill should be of concern to all physical therapists. It has the potential to limit access to rehabilitation services. Under the ACA, rehabilitation and habilitation services -- such as physical therapy -- are included in the federally mandated list of Essential Health Benefits (EHBs) for Medicaid expansion plans, small group plans, and any plans sold through the Health Insurance Exchanges. The new Senate language, as introduced, would allow states to apply for a waiver to create their own EHBs or eliminate them completely.

Additionally, this legislative initiative has the potential to adversely affect millions of Americans who rely on Medicaid for their health coverage. Under traditional Medicaid (non-expansion plans), physical therapy and other rehabilitative services are considered "optional benefits" and therefore aren't always covered. Under the changes proposed to Medicaid -- specifically switching to a per capita or block grant system -- a state's ability to fund its Medicaid program will be strained, causing optional benefits such as physical therapy to be jeopardized. The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System (AHCCCS) is Arizona's Medicaid agency that offers health care programs to serve Arizona residents and covers these services.

APTA is not opposed to reform of the ACA.  The rising premiums and insurers pulling out of exchanges pose a very real threat to the health care system.   APTA does want to make sure that any reform or replacement legislation does include rehabilitation as an essential benefit.

Arizona Senators McCain and Flake have not yet come out in support of this legislation.  They both said they want to study it further and they want to hear from their constituents, especially health care providers, who have concerns about the bill.

Please contact your Senators.  Let them know that you are a physical therapist who lives and works in Arizona.  Let them know that you want them to make sure that people continue to have access to physical therapy and other rehabilitation/habilitation services and that any insurance policies covered under any new health care legislation should include those as an essential benefit. 

You can email or call them using the following links or phone numbers.

Senator Jeff Flake:

Senator John McCain

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