May 30, 2017
A recent bipartisan measure advanced by the Senate Finance Committee may expand Medicare to include some long-term services and supports.
According to a Forbes article, the bill is titled “Creating High-Quality results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017” and takes a very small step towards providing more long-term care benefits by giving Medicare providers “additional flexibility in the way they care for people with chronic conditions” (May 17, 2017).
CHRONIC would expand the use of special needs plans, telehealth programs, and extend the use of a home-based medical practice experiment called Independence at Home. Another element of the bill gives Medicare Advantage plans more flexibility regarding social supports and other nonmedical services for members.
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Reported sponsors of this bill include Finance Committee Chair Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and top committee Democrat Ron Wyden (D-OR) as well as Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and John Warner (D-VA).
Sen Wyden told MedPage Today in an article (May 18, 2017) that the measure “is a formal recognition that this package of services—the focus on care at home, the focus on new technology, the expanded role for primary care and prevention, which inevitably leads to more non-physician providers—is the beginning of our push to update the Medicare guarantee.”
—Amanda Del Signore