If only the Republicans and the Democrats could work together to do the work of the Congress, the world would be a better place. Instead, Republicans try to bully through bills in the dead of night, while Democrats stand aside watching. It seemed that turning Neil Gorsuch into a Supreme Court justice was going to be the only thing of substance coming out of the legislative branch of the government – until now.
The Senate unanimously passed the CHRONIC (Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic) Care Act. Republican Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah and the ranking Democratic member Ron Wyden of Oregon managed to do the near-impossible.
Among other benefits, the CHRONIC Care Act will do the following:
- Make more use of long-distance (telehealth) technology
- Improve disease management services and care coordination in the home
- Continue home-based primary care teams for Medicare beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions
- Increase the cap on the total number of people participating from 10,000 to 15,000
- Eliminate geographic restrictions on telestroke services in 2019
- Expand telehealth coverage under Medicare Advantage Plan B in 2020
The purpose of this bipartisan bill was to improve the lives of people on Medicare who have chronic conditions. Hatch wrote in a press release that they have been working on this bill “for the last two years,” which is how health care legislation is supposed to be done:
‘The Finance Committee has been working hard to address and improve healthcare outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with chronic conditions for the last two years. The CHRONIC Care Act is a culmination of a bipartisan, committee-wide effort, which included rigorous engagement and feedback from affected stakeholders.’
The hoped-for outcome of this bill, according to the press release, is to:
‘Improve disease management, lower Medicare costs and streamline care coordination services – all without adding to the deficit.’
A growing number of people on Medicare have multiple chronic conditions. Wyden commented on the passage of the bill in the same press release:
‘Today is a big day in the ongoing effort to update and strengthen Medicare’s guarantee to seniors. Senate passage of the Finance Committee’s chronic care bill means seniors with multiple chronic illnesses will have their individual needs better met and get the type of care they need earlier. In the days ahead I will be working with Chairman Hatch, Senators Isakson and Warner, and others in Congress to ensure these policies become law as soon as possible.’
To read the entire CHRONIC Care Act, click on this link.
Featured Image via Getty Images/Aaron Bernstein.