|Former Sen. Bob Dole and David Jayne of Atlanta spoke in favor of eliminating the Medicare homebound restriction during a press conference in May.
Last month, David Jayne blatantly broke the rules in an effort to change them.
Jayne, who has ALS and receives Medicare home health care benefits, is only allowed to leave his Atlanta home for "infrequent and short" periods, or risk losing his benefits.
But the founder of the National Coalition to Amend the Medicare Homebound Restriction (NCAHB) traveled to Washington for almost a week in May to speak at a joint House-Senate press conference and to lobby legislators to support bills that would eliminate that restriction.
"We have some momentum building on the Hill now," enthused Jayne, who was able to meet with a number of key House and Senate aides, policy advisers and members of Congress. He also was interviewed by CNN, National Public Radio and the Washington CBS affiliate television station.
Jayne, who uses a ventilator and can move only three fingers, gave presentations and answered questions using his computerized voice synthesizer.
The May 16 press conference also featured Rep. Ed Markey, D-Mass., who sponsored House Bill 1490 to amend the Homebound Restriction; former Sen. Robert Dole (honorary chairman of NCAHB); Henry Claypool, co-chair of Advancing Independence Modernizing Medicare and Medicaid (AIMMM); and Sen. Max Cleland, D-Ga., who co-sponsored Senate Bill 2085 amending the restriction.
About 50 people attended the press conference, including Jayne's two children and Annie Kennedy, MDA's health care services coordinator for the Greater Washington area.
Medicare funding is a hot issue in Congress, and legislators are leery of anything that might increase the budget. Jayne emphasized that removing the restriction wouldn't increase costs, just quality of life.
"Thirty-two years ago when the Homebound Restriction went into effect, the technology for me to be in this room and speaking with you today did not exist," he said at the press conference. "I am not advocating the expansion of the Medicare system. I am only asking that the Homebound Restriction follow in the spirit of the ADA [Americans with Disabilities Act], the Olmstead decision, Ticket to Work and President Bush's New Freedom Initiative."
Jayne founded NCAHB after his home health care benefits were terminated because he traveled to a college football game. They were reinstated when the press took up his cause, and he's gambling on retaining them despite his well-publicized trip to Washington.
"Public awareness and action are crucial to make the Homebound Restriction a thing of the past," he urged.
More information can be found at www.amendhomeboundpolicy.homestead.com.