IDF is pleased to announce that on Tuesday, July 25, the US House of Representatives passed the Medicare Part B Improvement Act of 2017. HR 3178, introduced by Congressman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), is a collection of six smaller measures designed to improve Medicare Part B programs. Language was included from two measures in particular, the Medicare IVIG Demonstration Extension Act of 2017 and the Medicare Part B Infusion Services Temporary Transitional Payment Act, that are critical to ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries with primary immunodeficiency diseases (PI) do no lose home access to their lifesaving therapies. Due to this included language, HR 3178 will extend the Medicare IVIG Demonstration Project, which is scheduled to expire on September 30, 2017. It will also address the current four-year delay on Medicare reimbursements for the services needed to train and monitor people who receive subcutaneous immunoglobulin (SCIG) in home by creating a transition payment for home infusion therapies for Medicare beneficiaries.
The floor debate on HR 3178 ran more like a discussion, as this was considered a non-controversial piece of legislation. Comments on the bill were overwhelmingly positive. Congressman Brady highlighted the importance of people with PI having access to treatment in the home, as well as thanking Carol Ann Demaret, mother of David Vetter who was affectionately known as the boy in the bubble, for getting him engaged on these important issues. Congresswoman Doris Matsui (R-CA), a champion of the PI community, spoke about the impact of PI and expressed her pleasure that the legislation includes the Medicare demonstration extension. Congressman Bill Pascrell (D-NJ), a sponsor of the included measure which addresses the delay on Medicare reimbursements for training and monitoring services, referred to home infusion as “an essential treatment option” for people with a number of diseases and conditions. After comments concluded, the bill was passed by voice vote.
Overall, this piece of legislation is estimated by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to reduce Medicare spending by $4 million over 10 years. The bill will now progress to the Senate, where it will need to receive a favorable vote in order to be signed into law.
IDF is closely monitoring the progress of this legislation as it heads to the Senate and will keep the PI community updated as they become available.
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Click here to read a press release from Congresswoman Matsui on the passing of this legislation.