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Families USA, NDAA Laud Inclusion Of Rep. Murphy's Provisions In House Health Insurance Reform Bill

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Families USA, NDAA Laud Inclusion Of Rep. Murphy's Provisions In House Health Insurance Reform Bill

Congressman's Legislation Included; Ensures Access to Healthcare for Children of Low-Income Families, Cracks Down on Medicare Fraud

(Washington, DC) -- Today, Families USA and the National District Attorney's Association praised Congressman Patrick Murphy (D-PA, 8th District) on the inclusion of two of his provisions in H.R. 3962, the Affordable Health Care for America Act, citing his work on behalf of vulnerable children and families and law enforcement. The two provisions, the Children's Health Insurance Accessibility (CHIA) Act and the Improving Medicare and Medicaid Policy for Reimbursements through Oversight and Efficiency (IMPROVE) Act, enjoy broad bipartisan support in the House.

The first piece of legislation, the CHIA Act, will ensure expanded access to quality, affordable healthcare for millions of children by removing unnecessary barriers to SCHIP enrollment. Specifically, the legislation provides exemptions from states' SCHIP waiting period requirements for children who have lost group health insurance coverage due to a parent's job loss, children under the age of two, or children whose families face unaffordable out-of-pocket medical costs. The legislation has drawn wide support from a number of dedicated healthcare advocacy organizations, including Families USA, the Catholic Health Association, and the Children's Defense Fund.

Every state offers the State Children's Health Insurance Program -- SCHIP. Created in 1997 and recently expanded, SCHIP will soon provide health insurance to 11 million low-income children by covering children from working families with incomes too high to qualify for Medicaid, but too low for private insurance to be affordable.

The second piece of legislation, the IMPROVE Act, would help eliminate the $60 billion in taxpayer money lost to fraud, waste and abuse in the Medicare system every year. These losses result in higher health care costs, threaten the financial integrity of Medicare, and endanger vulnerable seniors' access to health care coverage. The IMPROVE Act would protect taxpayer dollars by requiring that Medicare and Medicaid reimburse providers and suppliers via electronic deposit at an FDIC-approved bank or credit union.

Under the current reimbursement system, criminals are able to siphon billions from the Medicare and Medicaid programs by cashing reimbursement checks for fraudulent services at check cashing stores. These stores, which rarely check IDs, verify Social Security numbers, or make other efforts to ensure the legitimacy of a transaction, both fail to prevent fraudulent billing and make it difficult to track down the perpetrators after payment has gone out.

Improved personal verification and identification requirements at FDIC-approved banks and credit unions will make it harder for scammers to commit fraud and disappear without a trace. The IMPROVE Act closes this check-cashing laundering loophole. The legislation has been endorsed by the AARP and the National District Attorneys Association, the Credit Union National Association, and the American Bankers Association.

"Congressman Murphy's Children's Health Insurance Accessibility Act is just good common sense: young children should be able to access vital health care coverage without unnecessary delays," said Rachel Klein, Deputy Director of Health Policy at Families USA. "Rep. Murphy's tireless work on this legislation will ensure young children can access the medical care they need for a healthy start."

"America's 39,000 prosecutors need the IMPROVE Act," said Scott Burns, Executive Director of the National District Attorney's Association. "Congressman Murphy's legislation is an important tool in the fight to crack down on fraud and recover taxpayer dollars, and we're grateful to him for his leadership in fighting fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare."

"I've proudly fought for the inclusion of both the CHIA Act and the IMPROVE Act in health insurance reform, and we're one step closer to making these vital bills a reality today," said Rep. Murphy. "These pieces of legislation will meet goals I care deeply about: ensuring vulnerable children get access to the health care they need, and saving taxpayer dollars by fighting fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare."

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