To the Editor:
We are happy to see that all three members of Maine’s congressional delegation support bipartisan legislation to end an arbitrary cap on the annual amount Medicare will cover for those who need outpatient therapy services. These arbitrary spending limits are preventing older Mainers from receiving the rehabilitation care they need from their therapists.
Strokes, surgeries and trauma from falls or other injuries sometimes result in patients’ needing extensive care by physical, occupational or speech therapists. Unfortunately, due to the existing therapy caps, many seniors on Medicare are facing expensive out-of-pocket costs for treatments they need.
A failure by Congress to repeal a harsh limit on therapy treatments poses very real financial and medical threats to seniors already struggling from strokes or debilitating conditions like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Some could be forced to ration care. Others may simply not be able to afford as many therapy sessions as they need, putting them in danger of new injuries.
Rehabilitation services are critical for seniors to maintain their independence so they can remain in their homes. Therapy also helps to avoid costly nursing home care or hospitalizations that can bankrupt those who are already struggling with high health care costs.
Seniors have worked hard and paid into Medicare their whole lives. Congress needs to immediately fix this harmful policy so seniors can get the rehabilitation services they need.
We look forward to hearing more from our federal delegation on their work to repeal these heartless caps which will only hasten the ill-health of our most vulnerable neighbors.
John and Vilene Farina
AARP Maine Outreach Volunteers