Yesterday the Senate passed their Medicare package, leaving important provision for respiratory patients intact. This comes almost a week after the same bill was passed the House of Representatives. The bill now goes to President Bush, who has threatened a veto because of other provisions in the law.

Regardless of the threat of a veto, the strength of the votes (a 69-to-30 vote in the Senate and a 355-to-59 vote in the House) is enough to overturn almost any veto.

The passage of the Medicare package would make pulmonary rehab an undeniable benefit—ending the inconsistent, or in some cases non-existent, coverage of this benefit.

Also in the Medicare package are terms that would repeal the rent-to-own provision that would require patients to take ownership of their home oxygen equipment after 36 months of continuous use.

The DME competitive bidding program that began in 10 parts of the country on July 1, has also been delayed for 18 months and reforms to the program must be made.