Most Americans Can’t Get Therapy Giffords is Getting
Wounded Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is receiving and benefiting from the world-class treatment she's getting in Houston. It's a level of care most Americans don't have access to, and she knows it.
Giffords is at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann, and her care is covered by federal workers compensation because she was shot and wounded on the job -- while meeting with constituents in Tucson, Arizona.
The full range of care and rehabilitation she's getting costs about $8,000 a day, according to the Brain Injury Association of America. These expenses are far out of reach for most people, because their insurers won't pay for the services.
This means severely brain-injured patients with limited or no coverage don't get the care they need, and are often forced to return home. They end up recovering more slowly, if at all. Many never recover and wind up in nursing homes.
Giffords wants to change that. Working from Houston through her staff, she's asked Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius apply the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a way that would make the level of care she's getting more accessible and affordable.
It's reported that Sebelius and her staff will be defining an "essential benefits" package that insurers participating in insurance exchanges will be required to provide by 2014.
Sebelius is proceeding with this expansion of rehabilitation benefits, despite efforts in Congress to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which opponents refer to as "Obama Care."