Issue: Health Care

Walorski, Kind, Meng, LaHood Introduce Bill to Lower Health Care Costs

Walorski, Kind, Meng, LaHood Introduce Bill to Lower Health Care Costs

Bipartisan Bill Would Allow Use of HSAs, FSAs to Purchase Over-the-Counter Medications, Menstrual Care Products

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Ron Kind (D-Wis.), Grace Meng (D-N.Y.), and Darin LaHood (R-Ill.) today introduced the bipartisan Restoring Access to Medication Act, which will improve access to care and help families afford the medications and other health care products they need. The bill will give individuals the ability to use Health Savings Accounts (HSA) and Flexible Spending Accounts (FSA) to purchase over-the-counter medications and menstrual care products.

“For millions of Americans, HSAs and FSAs are critical tools to pay for health care, but currently they can’t be used to buy over-the-counter medications,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Restoring this eligibility and expanding it to feminine hygiene products would improve both access and affordability. This is a bipartisan, commonsense way to lower costs and give consumers more control over their health care.”

“Families across the country are struggling with the costs of rising deductions and out-of-pocket expenses,” Rep. Kind said. “I am proud to support this common-sense bipartisan legislation that will allow families to use their savings accounts to purchase the items they need to stay healthy, for less money.”

“Millions of people rely on over the counter medicines each and every day and this bill would greatly help Americans afford these types of medications,” Rep. Meng said. “For years, I have been fighting to add menstrual hygiene products to the list of HSA-FSA eligible items, and I’m proud to continue championing that effort in this new legislation. There is no reason to prohibit individuals from using their HSA-FSA funds to pay for menstrual products. They are basic and essential items and adding them to the list of eligible expenses would go a long way toward making these products more affordable and accessible to women. I urge all my colleagues to support this important bipartisan legislation.”

“Health Savings Accounts are essential tools individuals and families use to receive quality healthcare needs at an affordable cost,” Rep. LaHood said. “Many Americans rely on over-the-counter (OTC) medicines to meet their basic healthcare needs and this commonsense, bipartisan bill will ensure OTC medicines can be purchased through HSAs. As we work to expand access to care while reducing costs, this bill takes an important step to do just that and is a win for working families across this country.”

BACKGROUND

Over 22 million Americans utilize HSAs, and over 33 million Americans contribute to an FSA. Since 2011, Americans have been prevented from using tax-preferred accounts to purchase non-prescription over-the-counter medicines. Over-the-counter medication can be used as treatment for pain management, smoking cessation, and allergies. Menstrual care products and over-the-counter medicines are essential for millions of Americans; making these products more affordable for families will improve health and wellness and prevent more expensive complications down the road.

The text of the Restoring Access to Medication Act is available here.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bill to Bolster Alzheimer’s Care Planning

Walorski Introduces Bill to Bolster Alzheimer’s Care Planning

Bipartisan Legislation Would Help Seniors and Families Plan After Dementia Diagnosis

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Paul D. Tonko (D-N.Y.), Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.), Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), and Chris Smith (R-N.J.) this week introduced H.R. 1873, the Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, bipartisan legislation that would require the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to inform health care providers about care planning benefits available through Medicare. The bill would also require HHS to identify other barriers individuals may be facing in accessing care planning.

“For Alzheimer’s patients, as well as their families and caregivers, care planning can make a real difference in their quality of life and help them get the best care possible,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Medicare coverage now includes comprehensive care planning so individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia can learn about the treatments, services, and other supports available to them. The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act will improve access to care planning by ensuring doctors and other medical providers are fully informed of the services they can provide under Medicare.”

“The Alzheimer’s Association and its advocacy arm, the Alzheimer’s Impact Movement (AIM), thank Rep. Walorski for working with Congress to provide the more than 5 million Americans currently living with Alzheimer’s – including 110,000 in Indiana – and their more than 16 million unpaid caregivers with desperately-needed resources and support,” said Robert Egge, Alzheimer’s Association chief public policy officer and AIM executive director. “The Improving HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act encourages doctors to talk to their patients about an Alzheimer’s diagnosis so that they and their families have the know-how and tools necessary to adequately adjust to and plan for their new reality.”

BACKGROUND

H.R. 1873 builds on the HOPE for Alzheimer’s Act, which Walorski co-sponsored in the 114th Congress and which proposed improving Medicare coverage by creating a benefit for comprehensive care planning services following a dementia diagnosis. Unfortunately, many health care providers remain unaware that this benefit is available. As a result, many eligible Medicare beneficiaries are not receiving the assistance that a comprehensive care planning visit can provide. This legislation will increase access to this vital benefit by ensuring more providers are informed and ready to offer it.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Bera, Marchant, Gottheimer Introduce Legislation to Delay the Health Insurance Tax

Walorski, Bera, Marchant, Gottheimer Introduce Legislation to Delay the Health Insurance Tax

Bipartisan Health Insurance Tax Relief Act Would Protect Families, Seniors

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.), Ami Bera (D-Calif.), Kenny Marchant (R-Texas), and Josh Gottheimer (D-N.J.) this week introduced H.R. 1398, the Health Insurance Tax Relief Act. This bill would stop the Affordable Care Act’s Health Insurance Tax (HIT) from going into effect until after 2021 and save consumers hundreds of dollars. According to America’s Health Insurance Plans, the HIT could increase premiums by over $470 per family in 2020 if not stopped. The tax would also hit seniors and those with disabilities particularly hard.

“When it comes to health care, Americans are facing rising costs and fewer options,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Raising taxes on health coverage would only make matters worse for families, small businesses, and Medicare Advantage enrollees. As we continue working to lower premiums for families and seniors, we need to pass this bipartisan bill to provide relief from the burdensome Health Insurance Tax.”

“Failing to pass this bill, which would ensure the Health Insurance Tax is delayed for another two years, would cause millions of American families to see higher health insurance premiums,” Congressman Ami Bera, M.D., said. “In a time of rising premiums and health care costs, preventing the health insurance tax from adding to those costs is necessary as we work to stabilize the insurance markets and lower health care costs. We should pass this bill today.”

“At a time when healthcare markets are beginning to stabilize, the last thing my constituents need is a tax driving their costs back up,” Congressman Kenny Marchant said. “The Health Insurance Tax (HIT) would do just that, and as much as I would like to see it repealed outright, this bill is a step in the right direction by delaying the tax from going into effect.”

“When it comes to taxes, the people of New Jersey have had more than enough. They want and deserve lower taxes — and they want lower health care costs,” Congressman Josh Gottheimer said. “That’s why I am proud to introduce the bipartisan Health Insurance Tax Relief Act, which stops a tax on health care premium in its tracks. I will keep working across the aisle to protect our health care and deliver commonsense tax cuts for Fifth District families.”

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski, Chu, Duckworth, Murkowski Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Expand Coverage for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors

Walorski, Chu, Duckworth, Murkowski Reintroduce Bipartisan, Bicameral Bill to Expand Coverage for Breast Cancer Patients and Survivors

Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act Would Provide Coverage for Custom Fabricated Breast Prostheses

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Judy Chu (D-Calif.), along with U.S. Sens. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) and Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), today reintroduced legislation to ensure breast cancer patients and survivors who have experienced a mastectomy are able to access custom breast prosthetics under Medicare. The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act would provide coverage for custom fabricated breast prostheses, the only human body part not currently covered by Medicare, to the more than 144,000 women who undergo mastectomies annually.

“Breast cancer patients and survivors should have access to the latest in custom breast prostheses to help improve their quality of life,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “I am honored to work across the aisle to expand women’s access to life-changing health care and innovative technology under Medicare. As we continue working toward a cure, this bipartisan bill will ensure Medicare beneficiaries battling breast cancer have the option to choose the prosthetics that work best for them.”

“Women who have undergone a mastectomy deserve to have every reconstructive option,” Congresswoman Chu said. “Yet, currently, Medicare only covers two: the most basic – off-the-counter inserts – and the most comprehensive – reconstruction. This bill would correct that by requiring Medicaid to cover a third option: custom inserts. This is important for women who want breasts that are the appropriate size and skin color but choose not to undergo reconstructive surgery. Medicare should not be limiting reasonable options for necessary surgeries that allow women to live normal lives after cancer. I’m proud to have worked on this bipartisan bill and I hope we can bring this action to a vote quickly so we can help more women return to feeling like themselves on their own terms.”

“We can do so much more to help survivors of breast cancer return to health and achieve the best quality of life,” Senator Duckworth said. “This legislation is an important step in continuing to expand healthcare coverage for women, and I’ll keep working to ensure survivors and all women have access to the healthcare they need.”

“A breast cancer diagnosis changes your life forever. So for those who have championed what is, perhaps, the greatest battle of their life, it is only right that we expand coverage to help them physically and emotionally recover,” Senator Murkowski said. “I am proud to cosponsor this bill to support and empower survivors.”

BACKGROUND

Over 3.1 million women in the United States have a history of breast cancer, many of whom suffer from unreconstructed breast loss. In 2018, more than 260,000 women were diagnosed with invasive breast cancer, which can require surgical breast removal. Currently, Medicare covers reconstructive surgery for breast cancer patients, but not custom breast prosthetics for patients.

The Breast Cancer Patient Equity Act is currently endorsed by the National Coalition for Cancer Survivorship, Susan B. Komen, Young Survival Coalition, Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, Brem Foundation, and Living Beyond Cancer.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Introduces Bill to Modernize Medicare Program That Helps Seniors Live at Home

Walorski Introduces Bill to Modernize Medicare Program That Helps Seniors Live at Home

Bipartisan Legislation Requires CMS to Finalize Updated Regulations for PACE Health Care Program

WASHINGTON – U.S. Reps. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) today introduced the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2019,  bipartisan legislation to speed up the modernization of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allow seniors with complex care needs to continue living at home.

“Seniors facing health challenges should be able to get the health care and services they need while continuing to live at home,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “PACE programs allow seniors to live safely in their communities by providing fully-integrated services, resulting in longer lives, better health outcomes, and fewer hospital visits. When I visited Saint Joseph PACE in Mishawaka last year, I saw firsthand how these effective and innovative programs can change people’s lives for the better. However, PACE regulations are long overdue for an update, and I am committed to working across the aisle to ensure CMS finally modernizes these programs so more Hoosier seniors can live at home longer.”

“Elderly individuals and those living with disabilities in communities across the country greatly benefit from the PACE program and they deserve top-notch care in the comfort of their own home,” said Congressman Blumenauer. “PACE programs operate under regulations last updated in 2006. This legislation will force this administration to modernize this program and make it available to Americans in need.”

“Throughout its history PACE has benefited from strong champions in Congress like Rep. Blumenauer and Rep. Walorski,” said Shawn Bloom, President and CEO of the National PACE Association. “We applaud their leadership and thank them for reintroducing The Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act.  The lack of an updated rule hampers the ability of PACE programs to innovate and grow to meet the increasing number of seniors who want to live at home as long as possible as well as their family members.”

BACKGROUND

In September, Walorski visited Saint Joseph PACE, a comprehensive care center in Mishawaka, Ind., to meet with staff and participants, learn more about the services and care provided, and discuss the need to modernize PACE.

PACE provides Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries 55 years of age or older, who meet the criteria for a nursing home level of care but wish to live at home, with the entire spectrum of medical and long-term care services and support and addresses all other biopsychosocial needs. Multiple studies show that people receiving care from PACE organizations live longer, experience better health, have fewer hospitalizations, and spend more time living at home than those receiving care through other programs.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Opioid Bill with Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Signed Into Law

Opioid Bill with Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Signed Into Law

Bipartisan, Comprehensive Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic Includes Provisions to Improve Access to Non-Addictive Pain Treatments

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today released the following statement after bipartisan opioid legislation, which includes provisions named for Dr. Todd Graham, was signed into law:

“The opioid epidemic is taking a devastating toll on Hoosier families, but today we are taking a big step toward ending this crisis. The bipartisan, comprehensive bill just signed into law will give our communities better tools to prevent and treat addiction and assist in recovery. And it will build on the legacy of Dr. Todd Graham with provisions named in his honor.

“Before he was tragically killed last year, Dr. Graham was dedicated to treating patients not only for their pain but for the underlying causes. That is why I worked to include this measure to advance the model of care he championed. I’m hopeful this legislation will help end the opioid epidemic by improving access to non-opioid pain treatments and enabling doctors to better treat patients and prevent addiction.”

BACKGROUND

President Trump today signed the bipartisan Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), which passed the House last month. The law includes provisions from Congresswoman Walorski’s bill, the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110), which passed the House unanimously in June. Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in September ahead of the vote on H.R. 6 is available here.

The provisions named in honor of Dr. Graham aim to expand access to non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. The legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to solicit stakeholder feedback, study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments, and make recommendations to Congress. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternatives and steps to improve treatment strategies and case management for various high-risk populations. It would also provide best practices and educational resources for the expansion of addiction treatment for those suffering from mental or behavioral health issues, particularly in rural areas.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act also includes provisions to:

  • Expand access to addiction recovery services;
  • Give Medicare beneficiaries access to more treatment options such as Medication-Assisted Treatment;
  • Establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers;
  • Improve efforts to help at-risk patients;
  • Enhance prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Support law enforcement efforts to combat dangerous drugs;
  • Prevent shipment of illicit opioids in international mail;
  • Crack down on synthetic drugs; and
  • Provide local communities additional resources to address the opioid epidemic.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Included in Opioid Bill Set to Become Law

Walorski Measure Named for Dr. Todd Graham Included in Opioid Bill Set to Become Law

Comprehensive, Bipartisan Legislation to Combat Opioid Epidemic Includes Provisions to Improve Access to Non-Addictive Pain Treatments

WASHINGTON – The House today passed bipartisan legislation to combat the opioid epidemic, including provisions authored by U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) and named in honor of Dr. Todd Graham that would improve access to non-opioid pain treatments. The comprehensive legislation to aid prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts is expected to reach the president’s desk for his signature in the coming days.

“The opioid epidemic is taking a devastating toll on our communities, and today we are taking bipartisan action to give those on the front lines provide better tools for prevention, treatment, and recovery,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Before he was tragically killed last year, Dr. Todd Graham was leading the way in treating patients not only for their pain but for the underlying causes. By improving access to non-addictive pain treatments, we are building on his legacy and advancing the model of care he championed.  I look forward to seeing this bipartisan legislation signed into law so our communities are better equipped to prevent addiction, assist in recovery, and end this crisis.”

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here.

The House passed the Substance Use-Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment (SUPPORT) for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6) by a bipartisan vote of 393 to 8 after a final agreement was reached between the House and Senate. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation in the coming days, and the president is expected to sign it. The bill includes provisions from Congresswoman Walorski’s bill, the Dr. Todd Graham Pain Management, Treatment, and Recovery Act (H.R. 6110), which passed the House unanimously in June.

The provisions named in honor of Dr. Graham aim to expand access to non-opioid alternative pain treatments and technologies. The legislation directs the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to solicit stakeholder feedback, study ways to improve access to non-opioid pain management treatments, and make recommendations to Congress. The study would include an evaluation of possible coverage and payment barriers that prevent Medicare beneficiaries from accessing non-opioid alternatives and steps to improve treatment strategies and case management for various high-risk populations. It would also provide best practices and educational resources for the expansion of addiction treatment for those suffering from mental or behavioral health issues, particularly in rural areas.

The SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act also includes provisions to:

  • Expand access to addiction recovery services;
  • Give Medicare beneficiaries access to more treatment options such as Medication-Assisted Treatment;
  • Establish comprehensive opioid recovery centers;
  • Improve efforts to help at-risk patients;
  • Enhance prescription drug monitoring programs;
  • Support law enforcement efforts to combat dangerous drugs;
  • Prevent shipment of illicit opioids in international mail;
  • Crack down on synthetic drugs; and
  • Provide local communities additional resources to address the opioid epidemic.

Todd A. Graham, M.D., a doctor with more than three decades of service, was shot and killed on July 26th, 2017, after refusing to prescribe an opioid painkiller to the shooter’s wife. Dr. Graham was a double board-certified physician in both Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Pain Medicine.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Walorski Visits Saint Joseph PACE After House Passes Legislation to Modernize Programs

Walorski Visits Saint Joseph PACE After House Passes Legislation to Modernize Programs

PACE Center in Mishawaka Allows Seniors Continue Living at Home

Walorski Visits Saint Joseph PACE After House Passes Legislation to Modernize Programs

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today visited Saint Joseph PACE, a comprehensive care center that allows seniors with complex care needs to continue living at home. The House last week passed bipartisan legislation introduced by Walorski to modernize regulations for Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) and expand seniors’ access to this innovative and effective model of care.

“Visiting Saint Joseph PACE today, it was easy to see why every senior I talked to there said the same thing: this program has changed their lives,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “The PACE model is a unique and innovative way to provide services and care to seniors with complex health care needs while allowing them to continue living in their own homes. I’m grateful for the passionate and dedicated staff at Saint Joseph PACE who help Hoosier seniors lead healthier, more independent lives, and I’m hopeful my bipartisan legislation will ensure even more people can benefit from programs like this.”

Walorski Visits Saint Joseph PACE After House Passes Legislation to Modernize Programs 1

Additional photos from Congresswoman Walorski’s visit to Saint Joseph PACE in Mishawaka can be found here.

On September 12, the House passed the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act, bipartisan legislation Walorski introduced to modernize PACE programs, which allow seniors with complex care needs to continue living in their own homes longer.

H.R. 6561 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to finalize updated regulations for PACE programs by the end of the year. PACE is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care to seniors and individuals with disabilities who meet the criteria for nursing home care but wish to live at home.

Organizations supporting the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act include the National PACE Association, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Alzheimer’s Association, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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House Passes Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

House Passes Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

Bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act Would Modernize Programs Like Saint Joseph PACE in Mishawaka

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded House passage of her bipartisan legislation to modernize a program that helps seniors live at home longer. The Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act, which passed by a unanimous voice vote, would bring improvements to Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allow seniors with complex care needs to continue living at home.

“Seniors facing health challenges should be able to get high-quality health care while continuing to live in their own homes,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Innovative programs like Saint Joseph PACE in Mishawaka have proven effective in improving health outcomes and allowing seniors to be more independent. This bipartisan, commonsense legislation will modernize these programs so more Hoosier seniors can live at home longer.”

“We are grateful for Rep. Walorski’s continued support in seeking ways to make PACE more available for the people of Indiana,” said Stacey Newton, Executive Director of Saint Joseph PACE. “PACE is proven to be the most effective way for people with long term care needs to continue to live in the community with the highest quality of life possible.  This bill will allow PACE to grow faster and reach more people and families in need not only in Indiana but across the country.”

“NPA expects the PACE final rule to provide much needed flexibility, in contrast to current PACE regulations, which will allow PACE to grow faster and to operate more efficiently,” said National PACE Association President & CEO Shawn Bloom. “Today we applaud the House of Representatives for passing this critically important legislation. In particular, we commend the strong leadership of  H.R. 6561’s sponsor Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN-2).”

Video of Walorski speaking on the House floor in support of the legislation is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“I rise today in support of H.R. 6561, the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2018. This bipartisan legislation would require the Secretary of HHS to finalize updated regulations for the Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, commonly known as PACE, while still giving the Secretary the flexibility to make updates and changes to the proposed regulation.

“The PACE program is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, community-based health care for seniors. It helps seniors whose health conditions would otherwise land them in a nursing home to remain in their own homes for as long as possible by allowing them to see health professionals and social service providers at local PACE centers.

“There are currently 124 PACE organizations in 31 states that serve over 45,000 Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, enabling them to live safely in the community through the fully integrated services and supports provided. This allows beneficiaries to live longer, experience better health, and have fewer hospital visits. Seniors facing health challenges should have the option to receive high-quality health care while continuing to live at home, and programs like St. Joseph PACE in Mishawaka in my district allow them to do that.

“In 2016, CMS released a proposed rule to update the original guidelines from 2006. A bipartisan group of members of Congress sent letters in November 2017 and June 2018 urging CMS to prioritize updating the existing regulatory framework, which is more than a decade old. The agency has unfortunately not taken any action.

“This much-needed update would allow PACE programs to customize their interdisciplinary team around the needs of each enrollee, provide more services in the community, and give greater flexibility to partner with community providers.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski recently joined U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral legislation.

H.R. 6561 / S. 3338 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to finalize updated regulations for PACE programs by the end of the year. PACE is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care to seniors and individuals with disabilities who meet the criteria for nursing home care but wish to live at home.

Organizations supporting the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act include the National PACE Association, the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Alzheimer’s Association, and UsAgainstAlzheimer’s.

Currently, 124 PACE organizations across 31 states serve more than 45,000 people. Trinity Health operates Saint Joseph PACE, which serves Hoosiers at a center in Mishawaka.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

Committee Approves Walorski Bill to Help Seniors Live at Home

Ways and Means Sends Bipartisan Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act to House Floor

WASHINGTON – U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today applauded Ways and Means Committee passage of the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act, her bipartisan legislation to speed up the modernization of Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE), which allow seniors with complex care needs to continue living at home.

“Seniors facing health challenges should have the option to receive high-quality health care while continuing to live at home, and the PACE program helps them do that,” Congresswoman Walorski said. “St. Joseph PACE in Mishawaka has proven this model of care is effective in improving health outcomes and quality of life. The PACE program is long overdue for an update, and this bipartisan, commonsense legislation will ensure improvements are made quickly so more seniors can live at home longer.”

Video of Walorski speaking at today’s committee markup is available here. The full text of her remarks is below.

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I want to urge my colleagues to support H.R. 6561, the Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act of 2018. I introduced this bipartisan legislation with Representatives Jenkins, Chu, Blumenauer, and Kind. I want to thank them for their hard work on this bill and their previous work on this issue.

“The Programs of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, commonly known as PACE, is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care for seniors. It helps seniors whose health conditions would otherwise land them in a nursing home to remain in the community for as long as possible by allowing them to see health professionals and social service providers at local PACE centers.

“In 2016, CMS released a proposed rule to update the original guidelines from 2006. This much-needed update would allow PACE programs to customize their interdisciplinary team around the needs of each enrollee, provide more services in community settings outside of a PACE center, and give greater flexibility to partner with community providers.

“H.R. 6561 requires the Secretary of HHS to finalize updated regulations for PACE by the end of this year while still giving the Secretary the flexibility to make updates and changes to the proposed regulation.

“Seniors facing health challenges should have the option to receive high-quality health care while continuing to live at home, and the PACE program helps them do that. St. Joseph PACE in Mishawaka, Indiana, has proven this model of care is effective in improving health outcomes and quality of life. The PACE program is long overdue for an update, and this bipartisan, commonsense legislation will ensure improvements are made quickly so more seniors can live at home longer.

“I urge my colleagues to support this commonsense bill, and I yield back the balance of my time.”

BACKGROUND

Walorski recently joined U.S. Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), Lynn Jenkins (R-Kan.), and Judy Chu (D-Calif.) and U.S. Sens. Tom Carper (D-Del.), Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) in introducing the bipartisan, bicameral legislation.

H.R. 6561 / S. 3338 would require the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) to finalize updated regulations for PACE programs by the end of the year. PACE is a proven model for delivering high-quality, comprehensive, integrated, and coordinated community-based health care to seniors and individuals with disabilities who meet the criteria for nursing home care but wish to live at home.

Currently, 124 PACE organizations across 31 states serve more than 45,000 people. Trinity Health operates St. Joseph PACE, which serves Hoosiers at a center in Mishawaka.

Walorski represents the 2nd Congressional District of Indiana, serving as a member of the House Ways and Means Committee.

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