A joint letter to the Senate Budget Committee has been presented to protect the Medicare Home Oxygen Benefit from being hit with further, massive cuts. Led by Senators Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) and Pat Roberts (R-KS), the letter formally expresses concerns held by the respiratory care community.

The budget cuts currently being proposed for FY 2009 would total an estimated $710 million for 2009 and $855 million for 2010.

The Council for Quality Respiratory Care, a coalition of the 12 leading home oxygen therapy providers and manufacturers, shows intense support for the letter, which is intended to get the Budget Committee to decline the cuts.  The letter reads, “We ask the Committee to weigh the cumulative effect of these cuts and reject assumptions of additional funding reductions.”

It also expresses the concerns of respiratory care professionals and patients everywhere by stating, “We believe that further payment reductions this year, coming on top of several recent cuts and an estimated 20% reduction that will take effect over the next several months under current law, could jeopardize care for some patients and make benefit reform much more difficult to achieve.”