The CHRONIC Care Act of 2017, introduced by Sen. Isakson (R-Ga), Sen. Hatch (R-Utah), Sen. Wyden (D-Ore) and Sen. Warner (D-Va), passed unanimously out of the Senate Finance Committee today and heads to a full Senate vote.
The bipartisan legislation could have a major impact on curtailing the cost of Medicare, as the legislation seeks to modernize chronic care treatment, which accounts for approximately 90% of the Medicare spending for senior citizens.
Among many modifications, this legislation seeks to increase flexibility in care by expanding telehealth services, which will increase access to care for seniors in rural areas, and the “independence at home” model, which allows for patients to receive more treatments at home and reduces the number of hospital readmissions.
Additionally, the legislation offers more flexibility to Medicare Advantage Special Needs plans to offer enrollees non-medical services. About one third of Medicare enrollees are in Medicare Advantage plans.
Sen. Isakson’s statement:
“With today’s bipartisan, unanimous committee vote, we are one step closer to helping ensure that seniors with multiple chronic health conditions receive better-coordinated care through Medicare,” said Isakson. “This legislation will empower doctors and patients to work together to improve overall health and help keep patients out of the hospital. I urge the Senate to quickly begin consideration of this important legislation to help improve lives and lower health care costs.”
Sen. Warner’s Statement: (who co-chaired the chronic care working group with Sen. Isakson)
“Improving care for seniors with chronic conditions is one of the most important things Congress can do to modernize the Medicare program for the 21st century,” Warner said. “These are bipartisan, data-driven policies that will improve access and care for these high-need patients, and ensure that Medicare can provide high-quality care for seniors today and in the future. I hope the full Senate will quickly act on this bipartisan legislation.”
A full summary of the CHRONIC Care Act of 2017 can be found here.