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BPC Urges Congress to Pass Legislation to Reform Medicare and Extend Children’s Health Insurance

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) issued the following statement by BPC President Jason Grumet; Senior Vice President Bill Hoagland; and Health Policy Director Katherine Hayes regarding the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015:

“We urge Congress to act swiftly to pass H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act introduced this week by chairmen and ranking members of the House Energy & Commerce and Ways & Means Committees. This bill would permanently replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment system, extend funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and implement structural reforms in Medicare to improve care delivery and slow rising costs.

“Like any good bipartisan compromise, this legislation strikes a careful balance that will draw both praise and criticism. By reconciling these competing views, the proposed legislation offers a set of politically viable solutions that deserve broad bipartisan support.

  • A permanent SGR repeal – coupled with new incentives to improve quality and value in Medicare – would end the senseless perennial series of temporary patches to prevent payment cuts to physicians; it would also enable Congress to move forward on a broader set of reforms.
  • A two-year extension of full CHIP funding with no programmatic changes, would provide near-term certainty to states and low-income families who rely upon this essential program.
  • A balanced package of policy ‘offsets’ – including cuts from providers and 2% of high-income seniors – would pay for a significant portion of the legislation. Additional savings from improved Medicare payment incentives may accrue over the long term.
  • A provision to make permanent the Medicare Qualifying Individual program would provide extra help to lower income seniors in paying their Medicare Part B premiums.

“We urge U.S. Senators and House members to act now to extend and improve these critical programs for our nation’s seniors, children, and health care providers.”

Update

KEYWORDS: MEDICARE, JASON GRUMET, BILL HOAGLAND, HOUSE WAYS AND MEANS COMMITTEE, SUSTAINABLE GROWTH RATE, CHILDREN'S HEALTH INSURANCE PROGRAM, KATHERINE HAYES, 114TH CONGRESS, HOUSE ENERGY AND COMMERCE COMMITTEE