Bennet, Finance Committee Members Introduce Bipartisan Bill to Address Chronic Illness

COLORADO - Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet, along with members of the Senate Finance Committee, introduced bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic conditions.

"People are suffering every day at the hands of these debilitating diseases, straining families and increasing health care costs," Bennet said. "This legislation addresses the needs of seniors with chronic conditions and modernizes the Medicare program. This will improve the health and well-being of families across Colorado, reduce costs, and improve the coordination of care."

An increasing number of adults who will age into the Medicare program over the next two decades live with multiple chronic conditions, and more than two-thirds of beneficiaries in the program today have multiple chronic conditions. Chronically ill patients account for a large percentage of overall Medicare spending, which will continue to grow until the program provides consistent, high-quality, coordinated care for these individuals.

The Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017 will help Medicare providers serve the unique needs of vulnerable beneficiaries. The legislation would expand the Independence at Home (IAH) program, based on a bill Bennet introduced with Senators Markey, Portman, and Cornyn earlier this year. The IAH model allows doctors, caregivers, and other health care professionals to coordinate and provide primary care services to patients with multiple chronic diseases, such as Alzheimer's, congestive heart failure, diabetes, and Parkinson's, all in the comfort of their own homes. In the first year it was implemented, the IAH model reduced Medicare costs by $25 million. The bill also increases the use of Telehealth, provides flexibility for beneficiaries to be part of an Accountable Care Organization, and enhances care coordination options for Medicare Advantage (MA) enrollees.

Original cosponsors include Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Mark Warner (D-VA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Bob Casey (D-PA), Mike Crapo (R-ID), John Cornyn (R-TX), Chuck Grassley (R-IO), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and John Thune (R-SD).

Click HERE for a section-by-section summary of the bill.
Click HERE for a one-pager of the bill.