The Cures Act Protects Access to Mobility Equipment through Medicare

On Dec. 13, President Obama signed the 21st Century Cures Act, a massive piece of legislation to help fund a wide variety of health initiatives, including Medicare’s coverage of mobility equipment for those with disabilities. Passed with overwhelm­ing bipartisan support in both the House and Senate, the landmark bill aims to overhaul the health system by increasing funding for medical research, advanc­ing the development and approval of experimental therapies and providing grant assistance to states to deal with the opioid crisis. Congress also included language to protect access to mobility equipment in Medicare.

The federal Medicare office had planned to cut funding for complex rehab technology, which includes manual and power wheelchairs, seating and position­ing systems and other various adaptive technology necessary for those with physical disabilities. The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation advocated for passage of this bill for the past few months. United Spinal Association also advocated for and supported a number of the bill’s provisions, including protecting access to CRT. “Thanks go to our advocacy community for your help in getting this important bill passed,” said United Spinal’s VP of Government Relations, Alexandra Bennewith.

“The cuts to CRT were scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2017, and the Reeve Foundation and our partners in Washington, D.C., have spent the last few months urging Congress to stop the cuts,” said the Reeve Foundation’s blog.

While passage of the bill did include an extension on the CRT cuts, the delay is temporary since the legislation only provides a six-month postponement. “Please just take a moment to thank your legislators for passing the 21st Century Cures Act,” the Reeve Foundation said. “Let them know that we’ll be working with them in early 2017 to enact policies to assure continued access to this specialized equipment.”