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Mr. WAXMAN. Madam Speaker, I am pleased that we are bringing this bill to the floor today. This bill combines two pieces of legislation, H.R. 1845 which provides a demonstration for the coverage of home infusion of intra venous immune globulin (IVIG) and H.R. 1063, which makes improvements to the Medicare Secondary Payer process.
H.R. 1063 was developed and reported by the Energy and Commerce Committee as a bipartisan effort. I commend Chairman Upton's willingness to work with us to achieve a solution. I believe we have a good balance assembling this package of improvements to the current process.
Under current law, Medicare is a secondary payer to certain group health plans and non-group health plans regardless of state law or plan provisions. These plans include auto or other liability insurance, no-fault insurance, and workers' compensation plans. But even though it is legally a secondary payer, it pays medical claims for Medicare beneficiaries--even if they may have other entities with a legal responsibility--and then recovers its expenditures so seniors and persons with disabilities are able to get the services they need. Then the appropriate claims are settled after the fact. The goal of the Medicare Secondary Payer bill is to reduce the burdens of the secondary payer process for beneficiaries and other stakeholders and help to have timely settlements, but to do so in a way that makes sure we are also protecting taxpayer dollars and the Medicare trust fund.
I do regret that we were unable to include administrative funding for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to implement these new changes. Stakeholders are currently frustrated because the process does not move fast enough; adding new responsibilities on top of an already slow process--with no new funding--is going to burden the agency and make it more difficult to meet the stakeholders' desired time frame for resolution. I hope that at some future date we can provide a reasonable sum to speed this process along.
I would like to clarify one additional point regarding the changes in this bill. The new process we have established for resolving disputes of claims posted on the web portal is not intended to supplant the ordinary appeals process for MSP activities. I believe that is clear in the language, but I want to note there should be no ambiguity.
I am also pleased that a bill Congresswoman Matsui has been a clear leader on is included in this package today. She has worked tirelessly on this IVIG issue, and I am hopeful that this demonstration project she has championed will save both save money for the Medicare program and improve access to needed services for this vulnerable population. I thank her for her leadership on this issue.
I thank Chairman Upton for working on these two issues with us, and our colleagues on the Ways and Means Committee who worked to bring these bills to the floor, and I look forward to next Congress where hopefully we will find additional areas of common ground to work on.
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