Senate approves legislation to reform Medicare payments and secure CHIP funding
A measure to extend the funding for the national Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) has won unanimous approval from the U.S. Senate. Federal lawmakers have also approved a measure to reform the Medicare physician payment system, which could address issues concerning medical costs and the overall cost of the Medicare system itself. The measures approved by the Senate would replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate Formula with the Medicare Access system, ensuring that seniors have access to affordable outpatient rehabilitation.
Medicare Access will ensure affordable medical care for Medicare patients
The Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate Formula has been changed 17 times over the past 13 years, costing the country some $170 billion. By replacing this system with Medicare Access, lawmakers hope to mitigate future costs and ensure that those in need of medical care have access to affordable services. The system ensures that doctors associated with the Medicare program will be paid for the services that they provide to those with Medicare coverage.
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CHIP receives more funding from the federal government
Lawmakers have also approved more funding for CHIP, which provides children with the health insurance coverage that they need. Nearly 8 million children throughout the United States currently receive coverage through CHIP. This coverage also extends to their families, as long as they are eligible for the program itself. Funding for CHIP has been in jeopardy for some time, as lawmakers had failed to authorize funding for the program earlier in the year. Some states had opted to increase their share of the funding into the program, but this would have done little to ensure coverage for many people in the country.
Legislation signed into law by President Obama
The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2015, as it is called, has already been signed into law by President Barack Obama, which represents the most significant health care bill the Head of State has signed into law since the Affordable Care Act of 2010. The legislation provides CHIP with some $214 billion in additional funding and has received bipartisan support from lawmakers in the House and Senate.