DEGETTE, REED, BROOKS Bill Included In #SubHealth Legislative Hearing
Washington, D.C. – Representatives Diana DeGette (D-CO), Tom Reed (R-NY) and Susan Brooks (R-IN) introduced a bill on Monday that would strengthen protections for Medicare beneficiaries who buy blood glucose testing supplies through the National Mail Order Competitive Bidding Program (CBP). Today, the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a legislative hearing examining bipartisan legislation to strengthen and improve Medicare, including H.R. 3271, the Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act.
Medicare beneficiaries need accurate readings from their glucose meters to monitor their diabetes. Without accurate readings, beneficiaries are at risk for serious health consequences. ln order to ensure precise readings, beneficiaries must have access to coordinated testing supplies in order to safely manage their conditions. The Protecting Access to Diabetes Supplies Act addresses several issues beneficiaries have reported facing under the competitive bidding program regarding Diabetes Test Strips (DTS).
“The collegial discussion of our bill at today’s hearing shows both its necessity and its value,” DeGette said. “This legislation addresses the critical need to improve Medicare beneficiaries’ access to diabetes testing supplies. Our committee and Congress as a whole must remain committed to this bipartisan spirit of cooperation; the result will improve Americans’ health and well-being. We should continue moving this legislation along the path to becoming law for the benefit of the 11 million Americans on Medicare who have diabetes.”
“Seniors who are on Medicare need access to the proper health supplies in order to manage their diabetes,” said Reed. “I am happy to see that the Subcommittee on Health is reviewing the bill and that it is moving forward in the legislative process. I, along with Reps. DeGette and Brooks, are committed to ensuring that patients have a choice when it comes to treating their diabetes.”
“Medicare beneficiaries who live with the daily challenges associated with diabetes need access to test strips that work best with their bodies to monitor their glucose levels,” said Brooks. “Prevention and proper testing is key when managing a chronic condition like diabetes. This bill will help seniors access supplies that allow them to best control their diabetes. Testing with mismatched or incorrect supplies can have detrimental, even deadly consequences.”
Medicare beneficiaries living with diabetes will not be helped if meters cannot translate glucose levels reported on the test strips into a diagnosis. This bill would strengthen enforcement of current law requirements that suppliers in the CBP must include at least 50 percent of the types of test systems that were on the market before the CBP’s implementation. The competitive bidding program has several beneficiary protections that the legislation seeks to place into statute to ensure proper oversight and enforcement of these protections.
DeGette and Reed are the co-chairs of the Congressional Diabetes Caucus; Brooks serves as its vice-chair.