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CMS Follows Ways and Means Lead in Improving Seniors’ Access to Care

January 22, 2024

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ways and Means Committee Chairman Jason Smith (MO-08) issued the following statement after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) took action last week to streamline prior authorization processes. The agency’s decision follows action taken by Ways and Means Committee members in advancing legislation last summer to ensure Medicare seniors receive timely access to medical services.

Chairman Smith said, “I am pleased CMS has followed the Ways and Means Committee’s example and taken a needed step to improve access to care for America’s seniors by increasing transparency and streamlining prior authorization requirements. The action finalized last week closely mirrors bipartisan legislation that passed the Committee last year that will remove burdensome red tape standing in the way of seniors’ timely access to the treatments and care that is best for them.

“I look forward to our Committee’s continued work on improving this process and ensuring medical decisions are made between patients and their doctors.”

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act was introduced by Reps. Mike Kelly (PA-16), Suzan DelBene (WA-01), Larry Bucshon (IN-08), and Rep. Ami Bera (CA-6) and passed the Ways and Means Committee on July 26, 2023. Specifically, the legislation streamlines the prior authorization process in Medicare Advantage by establishing an electronic system, ensures patients will receive a prior authorization decision in a timely manner, and improves transparency requirements for Medicare Advantage plans.