Members Commend Senate Finance Committee Inclusion of PRIME Act Amendment

WASHINGTON- Today, Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Carper (D-Del.) and Ranking Member Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Representatives Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) and John Carney (D-Del.) commended the Senate Finance Committee for including an amendment to the SGR Repeal and Medicare Beneficiary Access Improvement Act of 2013. The amendment, titled “Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures,” is based on the bill, “Preventing and Reducing Improper Medicare and Medicaid Expenditures Act of 2013” (PRIME Act), which was originally introduced as a bill by Senators Carper and Coburn and Representatives Roskam and Carney in June 2013. Senators Bill Nelson (D- FL), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Enzi (R- WY), John Thune (R- SD), Richard Burr (R-NC) and Johnny Isakson (R- GA) joined as cosponsors of the Finance Committee Amendment.

Among its provisions, the amendment would: curb improper or mistaken payments made by Medicare and Medicaid; establish stronger fraud and waste prevention strategies within Medicare and Medicaid to help phase out the practice of “pay and chase”; take steps to help states identify and prevent Medicaid overpayments; and improve the sharing of fraud data across state and federal agencies and programs.

“I want to thank my colleagues on the Finance Committee for including key provisions of the PRIME Act as an amendment to the bill we considered today,” said Senator Carper, a member of the Senate Finance Committee. “I have been working with my House and Senate colleagues on this legislation for years. I believe this measure will make some commonsense reforms to Medicare and Medicaid that will, ultimately, save taxpayers a lot of money. By cracking down on vulnerabilities that put tax dollars at risk of waste, fraud and abuse, we can ensure that these programs remain sustainable for years to come and continue to provide quality care and services to our nation’s poor, disabled, and elderly.”

“I am pleased the Finance Committee included provisions of the PRIME Act as an amendment to the Medicare physician legislation the Committee considered today,” Dr. Coburn said.  “The PRIME Act represents a positive step forward to reducing waste and fraud in Medicare and Medicaid payments, meaning scarce resources will be better preserved for those that need them most.”

“Medicare waste, fraud, and abuse is a serious problem that takes billions of dollars each year away from providing needed health services to our nation’s seniors. Our common-sense PRIME Act uses the kind of protections against fraud and abuse that for years the private sector has used to great effect,” said Congressman Roskam, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. “By replacing the antiquated system of pay-and-chase, we can strengthen Medicare for current seniors and future generations. I am pleased that this effort continues to gain steam both in the House and Senate, and will continue our work to push PRIME across the finish line to save seniors and taxpayers billions.”

“The provisions in the PRIME Act will strengthen Medicare and Medicaid while protecting our nation’s seniors from becoming victims of fraud,” said Congressman Carney. “It’s not easy to find something that Democrats and Republicans can agree on, but combating waste, fraud and abuse while saving billions of taxpayer dollars is a no-brainer. I’m pleased to partner with Senator Carper on this bipartisan proposal and encouraged that the Senate Finance Committee recognized the importance of taking these steps. I’m hopeful the House will do the same.”