Bennet Secures Key Changes in Health Care Bill to Lower Costs, Improve Value for Your Dollar

Bennet's Provision to Cut the Red Tape Between Insurers and Providers Included in Bill - Will Streamline Processes, Save Valuable Dollars

Changes to Bill Will Help Colorado's Rural Residents, Seniors and Kids

Michael Bennet, U.S. Senator for Colorado, today secured key amendments strengthening the health care bill so that it will lower skyrocketing health care costs and improve care for Coloradan patients.

"Coloradans should have the peace of mind that this bill will make a meaningful difference in their lives," Bennet said. "Skyrocketing health care costs are hurting our economy and patients should be receiving better care. These new provisions in the bill will truly lower costs and improve value for your dollar."

For months, Bennet pushed for the inclusion of his provisions in the final Senate health care reform bill. The provisions are backed by several national and Colorado-based health care advocacy groups. Today, Bennet's amendments were included in the final bill's "manager's package," an array of amendments that are expected to be voted on as a group in the coming days.

Overall, the "manager's package" of amendments works to strengthen the Senate health care reform bill by including provisions that lower costs, provide tougher accountability policies for health insurance companies, increase health insurance choices, make health care more affordable, and improve access to quality health care for rural residents, seniors and children.

Bennet's amendments in the "manager's package" include:

1. Cutting the Red Tape in Health Care. As part of an amendment package offered by several freshmen Democrats, Bennet authored a provision that cuts the red tape and bureaucracy so that doctors and nurses can spend less time on paperwork and more time on their patients. His provision will put an end to multiple forms, confusing codes and unnecessary paperwork that burdens providers, and ensures that if the health plans do not comply, there will be a financial penalty.

The provision also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) to adopt and regularly update a single, national standard for some of the most basic electronic transactions that occur between insurers and providers.

2. Improve Transparency - Bennet pushed to ensure price transparency between insurers and patients. The "manager's package" will make sure that insurers and health care providers report on their performance to the public, including pricing. This will help to empower patients to make the best possible decisions.

3. Medical Malpractice - Bennet joined Senators Baucus, Carper and Lincoln in securing an amendment that provides for a state demonstration grant program for states to develop, implement and evaluate alternatives to tort litigation for medical malpractice claims. The purpose of these grants is to limit litigation, while preserving access to courts for patients and promoting strategies to reduce medical errors. States may apply for these grants so long as they engage interested stakeholders in the development of alternatives. Patients have the right to opt out of a mechanism of alternative dispute resolution implemented by a state.

Previously, Bennet had secured an amendment in the bill that says clearly and directly to our seniors that health care reform will not take away guaranteed Medicare benefits. Instead, it will strengthen and protect Medicare for Colorado's seniors. The amendment was voted on earlier this month and remains in the final bill.