Healthcare

Senate passes bipartisan Medicare reform bill

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The Senate on Tuesday night unanimously passed a bill aimed at making Medicare more efficient and saving it money.

The passage of the under-the-radar bipartisan health-care reforms came on the same day that Senate Republicans abandoned a vote on a bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

The bipartisan bill that passed Tuesday night, known as the CHRONIC Care Act, expands some programs created by the Affordable Care Act, but they are more obscure programs that are largely outside the realm of controversy.

{mosads}The bill includes a range of programs aimed at improving how Medicare pays for care with people with chronic conditions and lowers Medicare costs in the long run.

“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.

He added the measure is “one of the few bipartisan healthcare bills to pass the Senate this Congress.”

The bill’s provisions include expanding a program created by ObamaCare that provides care for seniors in their homes; giving new tools to groups of doctors that come together to coordinate care for a patient, known as Accountable Care Organizations; and expanding the use of telehealth, where doctors use technology to communicate with patients far away.

“Today is a big day in the ongoing effort to update and strengthen Medicare’s guarantee to seniors,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (Ore.), the top Democrat on the Finance Committee.

The bill was first introduced last year and was the product of a bipartisan working group led by Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.). The Finance Committee held a hearing earlier this year.

Hatch and Wyden both urged the House to pass the measure.

Tags Johnny Isakson Mark Warner Orrin Hatch Ron Wyden

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