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Medicare Reform Part of Short Term Funding Bill

Medicare Reform Part of Short Term Funding Bill

Posted On: 2/7/2018

The House’s short-term bill to fund the government also includes a range of bipartisan Medicare reforms aimed at making the program more efficient and saving money over the long term.

The measure, known as the Chronic Care Act, has largely flown under the radar because it has been mainly free of political controversy.

It is the product of almost three years of work from both parties in the Senate Finance Committee, which began with a working group in 2015 looking for ways to better coordinate care for Medicare enrollees with chronic conditions.

“This legislation will improve disease management, lower Medicare costs and streamline care coordination services — all without adding to the deficit,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement.

The measure includes a range of initiatives, such as expanding a program where patients can be treated at home, avoiding expensive hospitalizations. The bill also gives more flexibility to Accountable Care Organizations, groups of doctors that band together to coordinate care for patients in an effort to save money.

Both of those programs were originally spurred by ObamaCare, but they are fairly obscure and free of the controversy around better-known parts of the law.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee, has been heavily involved in the effort, along with Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).