BMA Celebrates House Passage of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act
BMA-endorsed legislation builds on the Medicare Advantage community’s work to modernize prior authorization for seniors
Washington, D.C. – Better Medicare Alliance, the nation’s leading research and advocacy organization supporting Medicare Advantage, applauded House passage of H.R. 3173, the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act.
The bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN), was endorsed by Better Medicare Alliance earlier this year and would modernize the way Medicare Advantage uses prior authorization as a clinical tool to coordinate beneficiaries’ care. The bill passed by a voice vote.
“The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act is commonsense, bipartisan legislation to further raise the bar of care delivery in Medicare Advantage – where seniors already experience a 94% satisfaction rate, nearly $2,000 in annual consumer savings, added benefits, and improved health outcomes, just to name a few. By turning this legislation into law, Medicare Advantage will be even stronger for current and future enrollees,” said Mary Beth Donahue, President and CEO of the Better Medicare Alliance. “Importantly, this bill builds on efforts already underway in Medicare Advantage to modernize prior authorization while protecting its essential function in facilitating safe, high-value, evidence-based care. We thank Reps. DelBene, Kelly, Bera, and Bucshon for their leadership in securing today’s unanimous vote of support in the House. We look forward to swift passage in the Senate and putting this legislation on President Biden’s desk for his signature.”
BMA Allies echoed their support for passage of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, including:
“Vancouver Clinic stands alongside Better Medicare Alliance and all those who worked toward today’s overwhelming vote of support for the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act in the U.S. House of Representatives. In particular, we thank the lead sponsor, Rep. Suzan DelBene, for the many ways this bipartisan bill will help seniors right here in Washington state,” said Mark Mantei, CEO of Vancouver Clinic. “We value our partnership with Medicare Advantage to care for our patients in Washington and Oregon. This legislation will help health care providers deliver the timely, excellent, and compassionate care seniors have come to know and expect.”
“As a Medicare Advantage beneficiary myself, and a former member of the Washington State legislature, I join Better Medicare Alliance in thanking Rep. Suzan DelBene and her colleagues for their leadership in the passage of this bill,” said former State Representative Phyllis Gutierrez Kenney. “More than 600,000 Washington seniors actively choose and benefit from the quality, affordable coverage that Medicare Advantage provides. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act will further strengthen Medicare Advantage for seniors.”
“With studies showing that up to one-quarter of all health care expenditures are wasted on services with no benefit to the patient, we need a robust, next-generation prior authorization program to deter low-value, and even harmful, care while protecting access to needed treatment and effective therapies,” said A. Mark Fendrick, MD, Director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Value-Based Insurance Design and Member of Better Medicare Alliance’s Council of Scholars. “But we need not accept a false choice between securing prior authorization’s core function and modernizing its process. The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act leverages the latest technology to ensure real-time decision making and a 21st-century prior authorization system that benefits patients and providers alike.”
“The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities is proud to stand alongside Better Medicare Alliance as we work to protect the innovations in Medicare Advantage that are leading to higher satisfaction, better benefits, and lower consumer costs while also supporting smart public policy solutions like the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act,” said Dennis Borel, Executive Director of the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities. “We are encouraged by today’s bipartisan House vote and thank lawmakers for their work to ensure that every Medicare Advantage enrollee managing a disability will continue to stay healthy by having timely access to the care they need.”