October 03,2001

Statement of Senators Baucus and Grassley on Medicare Regulatory Reform

We commend Congressman Toomey and Congresswoman Berkley for introducing the“Medicare Regulatory, Appeals, Contracting and Education Reform Act.” This bill is a thoughtful proposal, and one that will provide important changes in how the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administers the Medicare program. For a long time Congress has made many promises that it intends to reform the way CMS administers the Medicare program. Today, Congress is taking an important step towards that goal.

We would like to applaud House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Tauzin and Ranking Member Dingell for their inclusive process in developing this bill. They have worked closely with provider groups and representatives from HHS, the Inspector General’s Office, and the US General Accounting Office. They have worked in a strong, bipartisan, and bicameral fashion, and they have reached out to our offices and incorporated our suggestions for improving the bill.

We also intend to introduce bipartisan legislation in the Senate in the coming days. Our proposal will reflect our work with the Commerce Committee and builds upon our collaboration with the bill’s original Senate sponsors, Senators Murkowski and Kerry. We believe that the proposal responds to the many concerns that health care providers have raised, without undermining the False Claims Act or the integrity of the Medicare trust funds. We believe that the bill strikes the proper balance between these objectives.