Maloney votes to extend and strengthen healthcare programs for seniors, children, and hospitals

Mar 26, 2015
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney (D-NY) today voted to support a bipartisan deal that will preserve and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program and permanently fix the Medicare physician payment system so that doctors can continue providing care to senior citizens. The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2) was approved by the House of Representatives today by a vote of 392-37 and now heads to the Senate. President Obama has already announced his support for the measure.

“Since 2002, Congress has voted 17 times to temporarily patch the broken Medicare physician payment system to prevent huge cuts Medicare providers,” said Maloney. “This bipartisan legislation permanently fixes this perennial problem by creating a new Medicare payment system that will provide certainty to our seniors and their doctors by getting rid of these annual patches. The bill also extends the Children’s Health Insurance Program for two years, provides an additional $7.2 billion for community health centers, and delays cuts to programs our hospitals rely on, like Medicaid’s Disproportionate Share Hospital payments. It also includes a six-month delay of new Medicare payment policies on short inpatient hospital stays so that a better policy can be developed. This bill continues our commitment to promote good public health for seniors, children and others in need of affordable and reliable health care. It represents the  kind of a bipartisan compromise that has been missing for far too long in Congress.”

Background:

H.R. 2, Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA)

Strengthens payments to Medicare providers to preserve access for seniors: The legislation repeals the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula and returns stability to physician payments. The SGR formula was passed into law in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 to control physician spending, but it has failed to work. Since 2003, Congress has spent nearly $170 billion in short-term patches to avoid unsustainable cuts imposed by the flawed SGR. The most recent patch will expire on March 31.

Extends Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP): The legislation preserves and extends CHIP, fully funding the program through September 30, 2017.

Benefits New York Hospitals: The legislation includes a six-month delay of enforcement of Medicare’s so-called two-midnight policy rule for hospital admission in order to allow Medicare to design a program that recognizes the need for short inpatient stays, which is missing from the current policy. It also delays for one year the disproportional share hospital cuts, while rejecting previous proposals that would have severely cut Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals.

Other health care program extensions. The legislation provides funding for Community Health Centers through 2017. It also permanently extends the Qualifying Individual (QI) program, which helps low-income seniors pay their Medicare Part B premiums and the Transitional Medical Assistance (TMA) program, which helps families on Medicaid maintain their coverage for one year as they transition from welfare to work.

Other Medicare Reforms. The legislation includes two bipartisan Medicare bills: (1) Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Improvement Act (HR 284), which makes modifications to the Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies competitive acquisition program, and (2) The Protecting Integrity in Medicare Act (HR 1021), which strengthens Medicare’s ability to fight fraud and builds on existing program integrity policies.

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