Republican Leader of the Ways and Means Committee Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) today delivered opening remarks before a full committee mark-up of H.R. 8487, the “Seniors’ Access to Timely Care Act.” The bill helps seniors get quicker access to the care that they need and deserve by making key improvements to cut red tape, reduce delays, and provide transparency.
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Rep. Brady’s full remarks as prepared for delivery appear below.
Thank you, Chairman Neal. And thank you for your leadership on this important issue.
Medicare Advantage has been enormously popular since it was created by Congress and I’m proud of the role Republicans played in this program. It is an alternative to the outdated care model that was resulting in higher costs and worse care.
Within a few years, half of all Medicare beneficiaries will have chosen a Medicare Advantage plan that works best for them. About nine in 10 enrollees are happy with their coverage.
That’s why I am happy that today we mark up a bipartisan bill, the Seniors’ Access to Timely Care Act, that will truly get seniors quicker access to the care that they need and deserve.
We are, together, building on the success of Medicare Advantage by making key improvements that cut red tape.
For too long, both seniors and their doctors have been bogged down by unnecessary delays caused by prior authorization requirements.
Seniors shouldn’t have to wait as their insurance seeks to pre-approve some treatments and services through telephone and fax, despite the abundance of faster electronic methods.
This bill, as the Chairman noted, modernizes that process and eliminates those delays by requiring plans to process electronic prior authorization requests. Studies show doing this can be three times faster than manual processing, reducing wait times by more than two thirds.
It also requires that insurers don’t reinvent the wheel and instead issue real-time decisions for routinely approved services – that is good for anxious patients, which is just plain common sense.
Finally, it provides transparency and information to seniors on how prior authorization could affect their care, giving seniors the assurance that they can access the care they need, when they need it.
Mr. Chairman, we have both said when our committee works together, we can deliver meaningful solutions that improve Americans’ lives. This is one example.
I am pleased to support this bill, which is a perfect example of that kind of bipartisan work, and recommend to my colleagues that they support it as well.