April 15, 2015

Manchin Votes for Permanent Fix to Medicare Physician Payment System

Legislation will extend children’s health insurance program for two years

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) today issued the following statement on the passage of the bipartisan legislation to reform the Sustainable Growth Rate and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

“The 12-year trend of Congress kicking the can down the road and voting on short-term extensions, which have cost hardworking taxpayers nearly $170 billion, has finally come to an end. I am pleased that Congress passed legislation to fix a flawed system by reforming the Medicare formula for paying doctors who see Medicare patients. In addition, this legislation will help move us away from a Medicare system based on the quantity of patients seen and number of tests ordered toward a system that will reward doctors for the quality of care patients receive. This change will help reduce long-term healthcare costs for seniors, which is a major driver of our long-term debt. In addition to these reforms, other health programs critical to West Virginians will be extended, including the Children’s Health Insurance Program, the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program, and Community Health Centers.”

Key provisions of the legislation are listed below:

• The legislation prevents a 21% cut in Medicare physician payments, provides stability and ensures that seniors continue to have access to their doctors. After Congress has “patched” the SGR 17 times over the past 12 years and cost American taxpayers almost $170 billion, this legislation permanently fixes the Sustainable Growth Rate system.

• The legislation includes important incentives to shift Medicare toward value-based care delivery and away from fee-for-service.

• The legislation includes a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), which has helped almost 20,000 children in West Virginia and two million nationwide access affordable, quality healthcare.

• The legislation provides a two-year extension of other health programs that are critical in West Virginia, including the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting (MIECHV) program and Community Health Centers.

          o MIECHV has been shown to reduce health care costs, improve school readiness, an increase family self-sufficiency and economic security.