Bill to Improve & Expand Medicare

Richard E. Neal (D-MA) Chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee and Ranking Member Kevin Brady (R-TX), on June 24, 2019, introduced the “Beneficiary Education Tools Telehealth Extender Reauthorization” (BETTER) Act of 2019.

Chairman Neal said, “This bill supports resources that reduce confusion in the Medicare enrollment process to make it easier for individuals to choose the correct plan and help avoid lifetime late enrollment penalties.”

The legislation would also help care providers such as skilled nursing facilities and hospitals improve their services for beneficiaries. By expanding telehealth benefits, the legislation addresses Medicare beneficiaries’ and the need for more accessible mental health services.

Specifically, the legislation would:

  • Expand Medicare telehealth benefits to improve access to mental health services for Medicare beneficiaries
  • Extend critical expiring Medicare provisions including funding for the National Quality Forum and State Health Insurance programs, make a demonstration permanent to protect low-income beneficiaries enrolling in Medicare Part D, and extend protections for payments to rural providers
  • Increase funding for counselors who help Medicare beneficiaries with enrollment questions and Medicare plan choices
  • Improve beneficiary education and outreach prior to initial Medicare enrollment by giving beneficiaries better information to avoid a late enrollment penalty
  • Help rural and community hospitals to start a graduate medical education program to train physicians
  • Provide funding for a program to bring consensus around quality measures for the Medicare program to address maternal morbidity and mortality, and also improve the value based purchasing program for Medicare skilled nursing facilities





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