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Senate Draft Proposal Offers Promise for America’s Chronically Ill

Friday, October 28, 2016

Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center issued the following statement by its health team including: Bill Hoagland, senior vice president; Lisel Loy, vice president of programs and director of its prevention initiative; Anand Parekh, chief medical advisor; Katherine Hayes, director of health policy; and Janet Marchibroda, director of the health innovation initiative, on the draft legislative proposal to improve care and lower costs for millions of Americans with chronic illnesses.

“This proposal was unveiled by the Senate Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group, led by Chairman Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA). The group plans to introduce the legislation in November. This is the culmination of two years of inclusive, thoughtful deliberations by the working group incorporating input from other policymakers and hundreds of organizations including the Bipartisan Policy Center. BPC met with the working group and submitted formal comments earlier this year.

“Today’s proposal recognizes the complex needs of those with multiple chronic conditions and moves the ball forward on policies with the potential to improve health care quality and reduce costs in the health care system. We are pleased to see the proposal to unify the Medicare and Medicaid grievance and appeals processes and better integrate behavioral health services for beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, similar to BPC’s recent recommendations.

“The working group’s proposed expansion of the Independence at Home demonstration program is a great step toward helping America’s seniors access quality, team-based care in the home. BPC recommended permanent, nationwide expansion of the program in its report Healthy Aging Begins at Home, based on the tremendous promise it has shown in its first two performance years.

“We support the expanded access to telehealth services under Medicare Advantage, and in certain accountable care organizations (ACOs) that bear risk for quality and cost savings, as well as for dialysis and stroke patients.

“We are also pleased to see the working group recognize the Department of Health and Human Services’ expansion of the Diabetes Prevention Program in Medicare.

“Importantly, the proposal allows Medicare Advantage greater flexibility for providing health-related services to improve or maintain the health or overall function of chronically ill individuals; and it provides beneficiaries with greater incentives to participate in high-value health care while preserving patients’ choices of health care providers. These provisions are closely aligned with BPC’s recommendations across its health program.”

“We appreciate the committee’s commitment to ensuring fiscal responsibility by exploring viable offsets. And we look forward to continuing our work with policymakers on chronic care legislation as it advances in Congress.”

KEYWORDS: MEDICARE, MEDICAID, MARK WARNER, BILL HOAGLAND, SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE, JOHNNY ISAKSON, ORRIN HATCH, RON WYDEN, JANET MARCHIBRODA, KATHERINE HAYES, 114TH CONGRESS, LISEL LOY, ANAND PAREKH