One of the hot-button issues to be debated in this special Saturday Senate session: Nebraska Senator Mike Johanns’ motion to eliminate the cuts to Medicare home health services. You mean the Baucus bill cut down on home-health care? You betcha, it does.

Johanns says in a release:

“Home health services help some of the most vulnerable Americans-those confined to their homes and with a high need for skilled and continued care,” Johanns said. “Their services are now on the chopping block. Support for the Senate health care bill is support for a new, multi-trillion dollar government program at the expense of our seniors. There is no doubt that cutting home health is misguided and will have a devastating effect on many Nebraskans. I hope my colleagues do the right thing and eliminate home health cuts from this bill.”


The Johanns effort makes clear two things: One is that the cuts in the Baucus bill will affect people’s lives. Some frail elderly will find themselves leaving home for medical services that now can be delivered more comfortably at home. Two is that many of the cost-saving cuts won’t actually get made. Whether Johanns succeeds or not today, other senators will fight, either for vulnerable citizens or valued voting constituencies, and the great cost saving measures required in the Baucus bill simply won’ get made. The bill will therefore actually be more disastrous than it is as written.