By Elise Viebeck - 01/15/14 06:10 PM EST
A bipartisan group of lawmakers is proposing a series of reforms to improve how Medicare treats its sickest and most expensive patients.
New legislation from Sens. Ron WydenRon WydenOvernight Healthcare: Watchdog says ObamaCare program made illegal payments Election-year politics: Senate Dems shun GOP vulnerables Overnight Tech: TV box plan faces crucial vote | Trump transition team to meet tech groups | Growing scrutiny of Yahoo security MORE (D-Ore.) and Johnny IsaksonJohnny IsaksonGrassley pulling away from Dem challenger Fifteen years since pivotal executive order, STORM Act could help fight terror finance GOP pressures Kerry on Russia's use of Iranian airbase MORE (R-Ga.) and Reps. Erik Paulsen (R-Minn.) and Peter WelchPeter WelchRetailers have jumped the shark EpiPen investigation shows need for greater pricing transparency, other reforms Dem lawmakers: Clinton should have disclosed illness sooner MORE (D-Vt.) would attempt to improve care for chronically ill seniors by revamping how their providers are paid.
Isakson predicted that the bill would "unleash the creativity of the medical community" toward better assisting older patients with difficult conditions.
The bill "addresses our healthcare system's challenge of managing chronic medical condition by allowing patients to voluntarily enroll in a program that incentivizes healthcare providers to invest in prevention," he said in a statement.
If it passed, the legislation would be part of a wider movement to reform how healthcare is delivered and paid for in the United States.
Congress has taken small steps toward rewarding quality, but federal health programs still reimburse on a mostly fee-for-service basis.
AARP backed the legislation in a statement, noting that 75 percent of healthcare dollars are spent on chronic disease.
"It is important to better coordinate and improve the quality of care for these individuals … rather than to just ask individuals to continue to pay more for their healthcare," said AARP Legislative Policy Director David Certner in a statement.