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Brady Opening Statement at Markup of Legislation to Improve Medicare Programs and Policies, and Expand Evidence-Based Welfare Solutions

September 13, 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. – House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered the following opening statement at a markup of legislation to improve Medicare programs and policies, and expand evidence-based welfare solutions.

CLICK HERE to watch today’s markup.

Remarks as delivered:

“This morning our Committee will consider five bills that take action on several important priorities in health care and welfare policy. Namely, delivering targeted solutions to improve Medicare and supporting evidence-based programs to help Americans in poverty.

“We’ll start today with our three health bills – all of which are bipartisan.

“First up is H.R. 3726, the Stark Administrative Simplification Act. This bill by Congressmen Marchant and Kind builds upon legislation passed in July to modernize Medicare’s physician self-referral laws. It sets up a process physicians can use to self-report and resolve technical violations of ‘Stark’ law. And, in doing so, the bill will allow health care providers to clear up inadvertent paperwork mistakes more quickly so they can get back to serving patients.

“Our second bill today is H.R. 3727, legislation by Budget Committee Chairman Black and Congressman Thompson that expands access to tele-health services for Medicare Advantage beneficiaries. This is one of several bipartisan bills we are working on to expand access to tele-health services throughout Medicare. This commonsense legislation will improve patient outcomes, increase efficiency for providers, and reduce health care costs for beneficiaries and taxpayers.

“And our third health bill is H.R. 3729, the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability and Transport Act. This legislation by Congressmen Nunes and Congresswoman Sewell improves and extends add-on payments for Medicare’s ground ambulance transport program. Importantly, the bill puts in place clear cost-reporting requirements to make sure the program operates with efficiency and integrity for Medicare beneficiaries who rely on these crucial services.

“For the second part of today’s markup, we have two bills from our Human Resources Subcommittee.

“We’ll consider H.R. 2824, the Increasing Opportunity and Success for Children and Parents through Evidence-Based Home Visiting Act. This legislation by Human Resources Subcommittee Chairman Adrian Smith reauthorizes the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting program – also known as ‘MIECHV.’

“One of our Committee’s biggest priorities in welfare policy is making sure taxpayer dollars go toward programs that provide real results for families in need – and MIECHV is a prime example.

“This bipartisan program has a demonstrated track record of positive outcomes, helping children and their parents in at-risk communities be more successful in school and work, and build better lives for themselves.

“Chairman Smith’s legislation provides certainty for families, states, and communities by reauthorizing MIECHV for five years. More than that, the bill reinforces our Committee’s dedication to advancing evidence-based policies that deliver real results for the American people using limited taxpayer dollars.

“Our final bill today is H.R. 2792, the Control Unlawful Fugitive Felons Act sponsored by Congresswoman Noem and Chairman Sam Johnson, and serves to cover the costs of extending the home visiting program for five years. This program integrity legislation prohibits Supplemental Security Income – or ‘SSI’ – payments from being made to individuals with an outstanding arrest warrant for a felony or a parole violation.

“This is not a new policy. In fact, it was first signed into law by President Clinton in 1996. And, with Congresswoman Noem’s bill, we are restoring the original intent of the law to make sure it is implemented as intended.

“The bill is simple. If you’re wanted for a felony – for example, a crime such as rape, murder, burglary, or kidnapping – you will not be able to receive SSI benefits until you make things right with the courts. And the same is true for those with an outstanding arrest warrant for violating parole.

“This is about making sure Americans’ tax dollars are not used to support those who evade criminal prosecution. It’s common sense, and it is estimated to save taxpayers $2 billion – again, covering the cost of the MIECHV extension.

“In closing, I want to thank all the Members on both sides of the aisle who crafted the legislation before us today. These are important priorities for our Committee and the American people. I hope all five of these bills receive the bipartisan support they deserve.”