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Iowa Congressman Tom Latham Joins Bipartisan Effort To Protect Seniors From High Unexpected Medical Costs

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Des Moines, IA, Feb 11 | comments
Des Moines, IA - Iowa Congressman Tom Latham highlighted his support for bipartisan and bicameral legislation that protects America’s seniors by ending a punishing Medicare policy that is causing seniors to unknowingly be hit with large, unfair costs after receiving necessary post-acute medical care.

Currently Medicare policy dictates that a patient must have an inpatient hospital stay of at least three days in order for Medicare to cover post-hospitalization nursing care.  Patients that receive hospital care on "observation status" do not qualify for this benefit and they get billed, even if their hospital stay lasts longer than three days.

"While in a hospital, seniors should only have to concentrate on getting better," said Latham.  "They shouldn't have to worry about huge medical bills threatening their life savings because of quirks created by complicated Medicare policies,” said Latham.  “This bipartisan legislation is proof that this is not a political issue – but an issue of healthcare fairness for America’s seniors.”

The bill that Latham has cosponsored in the House with Democratic Connecticut Congressman Joe Courtney, H.R. 1179 the Improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act, would allow for the time patients spend in the hospital under observation status to count toward the 3-day hospital stay for coverage of skilled nursing care, and hence, be covered by Medicare.

H.R. 1179 has companion legislation, S.569, introduced in the United States Senate by Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown.

“I am proud to join with Congressman Courtney and Senator Brown to protect seniors from this ongoing problem.  This legislation and effort is a positive sign that even those from different political parties can set aside their differences to find common ground solutions to the concerns all Medicare participants share.”

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