May 18,2017

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Amelia Breinig, Julia Lawless (202)224-4515

Hatch Statement at Finance Committee Mark-Up of the CHRONIC Care Act

WASHINGTON – Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) today delivered the following opening statement at a markup of the Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017:
            Today the committee will consider and hopefully report legislation to improve the way Medicare serves patients with chronic conditions.  Given that we held a hearing on this very topic just two days ago, I will keep my initial remarks brief.

            The legislation before us represents the hard work of the Chronic Care Working Group that I established along with Ranking Member Wyden and is co-chaired by Senators Isakson and Warner.  We formed this bipartisan working group two years ago in hopes that we could advance important and much-needed reforms for Medicare beneficiaries suffering from chronic conditions.  

            After two years of meeting with and receiving input from stakeholders in the healthcare community, including 850 formally submitted comments, the release of multiple public proposals and outlines, and good-faith negotiations, we have arrived to where we are today.

The CHRONIC Care Act currently has 18 bipartisan cosponsors, with 16 sitting on this committee. The bill includes a number of policies that will improve care for the chronically ill through increased use of telehealth, including by giving Medicare Advantage plans and certain Accountable Care Organizations enhanced flexibility to target telehealth services to Medicare patients with chronic conditions.

            The bill also goes beyond telehealth by making improvements for beneficiaries who receive care across the Medicare spectrum, including fee-for-service, Accountable Care Organizations, and Medicare Advantage.  These are all important changes that will address the growing need to tailor treatments to those with chronic conditions.

            Given the contentious nature of our nation’s current healthcare debate, I think it is remarkable that we’ve been able to get to this point.  While I’d like to take credit for all of the successes we’ve enjoyed thus far, this endeavor has been the very definition of a team effort.

            I want to once again thank Senator Wyden for his commitment, not only to this particular bill, but to the patients that will undoubtedly benefit once it is signed into law.

            I want to thank our distinguished co-chairs of the working group, Senator Isakson and Senator Warner, who have really spearheaded this whole endeavor.  

            And, I want to thank the other Senators both on and off the committee who have provided vital input and insight into this process and have helped shape this into a better legislative product.  

            Finally, I want to thank the advocates and stakeholders who have been so cooperative and helpful in providing feedback and expertise as this effort has moved forward.

            Of course, now is not the time to celebrate anything.  We’ve got work to do.

            Hopefully we can move this legislation out of the committee today and then continue our efforts to get it passed on the floor.