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Mike T.
Democrat CA 5

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  • Securing Fairness in Regulatory Timing Act of 2015

    by Representative Mike Thompson

    Posted on 2015-12-10

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    THOMPSON of California. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

    I rise in support of H.R. 3831, the Securing Fairness in Regulatory Timing Act of 2015. Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services publishes its Medicare Advantage call letter and rate notice, which outlines payment rates and changes for the nearly 2,000 plans that serve our most vulnerable population.

    Nearly 10 years ago, the call letter and rate notice were less than 20 pages long. However, since then, enrollment in Medicare Advantage has nearly tripled, from 5.4 million to 16 million. Medicare Advantage policies have become more complex, and the call letter and rate notice has grown nearly tenfold, sometimes up to over 200 pages long.

    At the same time, the time between the publishing of these draft notices and the final notices, which is currently 45 days, has remained unchanged. During this 45-day period, in which there are only 15 days to comment on the proposed changes in the program, plans, stockholders, members, and staff, are expected to review 150 pages of regulatory changes and understand the impacts of those proposed policy changes on a program that provides essential medical care to over a third of Medicare beneficiaries.

    We know from our experience, every February and March, that this does not lend itself to an efficient, effective, nor transparent process. Moreover, it [[Page H9218]] shortchanges CMS of thoughtful, constructive feedback that is necessary to improve a program that our seniors enjoy and rely on.

    H.R. 3831 is a simple, straightforward bill that will improve the current process by expanding the cycle from 45 to 60 days, and that gives plans, stakeholders, Members, and our staff 30 full days--double the current time allowed--to analyze and provide feedback on the draft call letter and rate notice.

    This is a no-cost, good-government, bipartisan bill that will make the process more transparent, fair, and advantageous for the beneficiaries we serve. As my good friend from Ohio pointed out, we have already passed this bill. It is only coming back for some technical changes. I would ask, and strongly recommend, that all our colleagues vote in favor of this bill so we can pass it to the Senate and get on with our work.

    Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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