Washington, D.C. – Today the House passed H.R. 6690 the Fighting Fraud to Protect Care for Seniors Act. This legislation, introduced by Representative Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), creates a pilot program to test the use of smart card technology in the Medicare Program, reducing fraud.
Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI), who also spoke in support of the bill, remarked, “You’ve been working on this a long time, working with Mr. Blumenauer, and I think your efforts to strive for some bipartisanship has been a positive… Wishing we had more bipartisanship on healthcare issues that run more deeply and affect the needs of people even more broadly… I do not suggest anything but support for this bill.” – Rep. Sandy Levin (D-MI)
Representative Roskam’s full speech:
Mr. Speaker we have an opportunity to do something together on a bipartisan basis that can bring a level of confidence to a program that all of us cherish and all of us want to defend, and that is Medicare. Medicare is an incredibly popular program, it’s a necessary program and it’s a program that needs all of us to defend it, particularly on the integrity side. If you were to ask CMS today what their fraudulent or erroneous payment rate is, those two numbers together, they would come back and they would tell you it’s about 10 percent. So in other words, about $40 billion a year, Mr. Speaker, is going out the door. Not to benefit seniors, but it’s going out the door either fraudulently or erroneously.
I want to thank Mr. Blumenauer from Oregon because together we have been working on this concept which would apply the same type of technology that we see in so many other parts of the economy right now – that is smart card technology – and use it in a Medicare setting. So the proposal is this: let’s try it, let’s see how it works. Let’s have a pilot program and, toward that end, what we’re hoping and the expectation is that the same types of savings that we’ve seen in the private sector we will see in this sector to make sure seniors are protected. Not only the funds that seniors have come to rely on, but their identities and so forth.
This is a concept, again, that Mr. Blumenauer and I have worked on. I thank Chairman Brady for his work on this bill and the attention this has gotten on a bipartisan basis. I think it’s particularly interesting to note that AARP has weighed in very strongly in favor of it. Let me just read one quick snap shot from a letter that they sent to Mr. Blumenauer and me at the end of August: “While the new cards are more secure then before ‘smart cards’ could provide even greater security, and have the potential to contain useful health information and facilitate care. If enacted this pilot program would also help Medicare learn more about beneficiary engagement and education. This technology deserves to be tested and evaluated.”
So Mr. Speaker, in a nutshell, this is a proposal to create a pilot program and I urge its passage.
- The Fighting Fraud to Protect Care for Seniors Act was first introduced in December of last year as the Medicare Common Access Card (CAC) Act.
- H.R. 6690 recently passed out of the Ways and Means Committee on a bipartisan vote.
- CLICK HERE to read AARP’s endorsement.
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