From The Roots-Clinician's Blog


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Give the Complex Rehab Bill a Fighting Chance

As Memorial Day approaches I can’t help but reflect on the sacrifices our service personnel have made to keep this country free. What troubles me sometimes, though, is how our war dead might feel about what’s become of our lawmakers’ sense of priorities. They might feel the elected officials who lead this country have skewed their ideas about what is most worth fighting for.

One example that gnaws at me is S. 948, a Senate bill known as “The Ensuring Access to Quality Complex Rehabilitation Act.” The idea behind the bill is to establish a separate benefit category under Medicare for complex rehab technology. The net effect of S. 948 would be to protect the access people with significant disabilities have to highly customized products, and thereby preserve their independence and address their medical needs. The community of individuals affected by a disability sure could benefit from the passage of S 948. But there is good news and bad news.

The good news about S. 948 is that it has 12 co-sponsors, while the House of Representatives version of the bill has more than 110 co-sponsors. The bad news is that S. 948 was introduced to the 113th Congress more than 1 year ago. It now sits before the Senate Finance Committee. In the 112th Congress, only 11% of bills made it past committee. Since S. 948 has spent its first 12 months of life languishing in committee, I’m not optimistic that the 7 months remaining will even draw the a token nod for the bill.

It seems the only congressional actions that get fast-tracked these days are those that provide for the naming (or re-naming) of post offices. The 112th Congress passed 46 measures that resulted in the naming of post offices. That is no typo: 46. According to the New York Time blog, “The Caucus,” the 113th Congress committed that shepherds over post office naming instructed its members to process their measures quickly, “so as to minimize the time spent.”

We see a Congress that takes the naming of post offices pretty seriously, yet demonstrates unbelievable reluctance to take action on a measure that could alter the quality of life for many individuals. If this is not a call to arms for grass roots advocates I don’t know what is.

Memorial Day is a day to act for the good of others. Click here to send a message to your Congressional representative asking their support for S. 948/HR 942. Or simply contact them yourself and express your concerns in your own voice. Remind them they have an obligation to the population of individuals living with a disability. And let the post office take care of its own.