Neal Opening Statement at Markup of H.R. 8487 “Improving Seniors Timely Access to Care Act of 2022”

Jul 27, 2022
Press Release

(As prepared for delivery)

Today, we will consider a proposal that will ensure our Medicare beneficiaries are receiving the care they need in a timely manner. Championed by Congresswoman DelBene and Congressman Kelly, H.R. 8487, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act of 2022, has been years in the making and has overwhelming bipartisan support.

This sensible legislation addresses three fundamental issues that will ultimately allow doctors and health care providers to focus on delivering prompt care, rather than being burdened by unnecessary paperwork and often antiquated processes.

First, by shortening the time frame for Medicare advantage plans to make prior authorization decisions about patient care, this legislation will allow patients to access care quicker.

Second, the legislation ensures that the administrative processes are streamlined by moving insurers and providers to fully electronic transactions.

Providers across all specialties are frustrated by the increased amount of administrative burden imposed by time-consuming and varied prior authorization processes.  In fact, 88 percent of physicians found a high or extremely high burden with conducting prior authorizations.  In addition, only around a quarter of all prior authorizations are conducted fully electronically.

By modernizing transactions and moving away from paper, faxes, and manual review of decisions, we will encourage cost savings and lessen providers’ burden.

Finally, this legislation requires more transparency into the prior authorization process. By requiring the collection and then publication of additional information, beneficiaries and providers will be able to better understand the care and coverage of varying health plans.

All in all, this legislation is a notable step forward for our health system. Reducing burden, improving access to care, and increasing administration efficiencies are all commonsense reforms that I’m pleased this Committee can get behind on a bipartisan basis. 

I want to thank the patient, provider, and insurance organizations for their input on this legislation. Without objection letters of support from AARP, the American Medical Association (AMA), American Hospital Association (AHA), the California Medical Association, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, Center for Medicare Advocacy, Better Medicare Alliance, and the Regulatory Relief Coalition will be included in the record. 

With that, I want to thank Mr. Brady for his partnership in today’s markup and I will recognize him for purposes of an opening statement.