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Ways and Means Committee Advances “The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act”

Legislation Orchestrated by Powers-led Coalition of Medical Specialty Associations and Key Allies

 

The Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act (H.R. 3173/S. 3018), legislation spearheaded by Powers-led Regulatory Relief Coalition (RRC), is one step closer to becoming law. Last Wednesday, the House Ways and Means committee held a legislative “markup” where it was advanced by voice vote, teeing it up for a floor vote in the fall.

This important legislative effort is the result of several years of coalition-building, legislative counsel, and congressional lobbying orchestrated by Powers attorney’s Peggy Tighe and Diane Millman.  RRC is a group of national physician specialty organizations and their allies advocating for reduced regulatory burdens in Medicare so physicians can spend more time treating patients.  Tighe is RRC’s legislative strategist; Millman is RRC’s regulatory counsel.

The RRC is advancing this bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help protect patients from unnecessary delays in care by streamlining and standardizing prior authorization in the Medicare Advantage (MA) program. The bill is being championed in the House by Reps. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Ami Bera, MD (D-CA), and Larry Bucshon, MD (R-IN) and in the Senate by Sen. Roger Marshall (R-KS), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), John Thune (R-SD), and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

In his opening statement at the markup of the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, the Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA) acknowledged the importance of Regulatory Relief Coalition’s efforts. Rep. Suzan DelBene (D-WA), who spearheaded both the legislation Ways & Means considered Wednesday and previous iterations of the bill, commented, “It is 2022 and even Congress has moved beyond the fax machine. The health care system is complicated in the best of times. Doctors and their patients shouldn’t have to call or fax back and forth with insurance companies or send documents multiple times for procedures that are approved over 95 percent of the time.

Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) added how “This legislation moves the health care sector into the 21st century by giving doctors and Medicare Advantage plans the tools to make health coverage decisions in real-time. I want to thank my colleagues, Reps. DelBene, Bucshon, and Bera, as well as the Regulatory Relief Coalition for their tireless work on this issue.

Principal Peggy Tighe, who works closely with both the Healthcare and Government Relations & Public Policy teams at Powers, serves as the lead legislative counsel for the RRC and was instrumental in developing and advancing this legislation. Tighe worked with Powers Partner Diane Millman, who served as regulatory counsel for the coalition. For RRC, the work meant enlisting hundreds of House and Senate co-sponsors and organizational endorsements. RRC also created and maintained a comprehensive website for coalition members and the public to access information regarding the bill. The website also contains a mechanism for endorsing the bill.

Peggy Tighe works closely with both the Healthcare and Government Relations & Public Policy teams at Powers. She teams with health systems, patient groups, and provider organizations to develop persuasive policy arguments and strategies to influence Congress and relevant agencies, creating change to protect and support providers and the patients they serve. She focuses her practice on lobbying, coalition building, crafting, and implementing grassroots campaigns, and coordinating media relations. She has significant experience strategizing and implementing federal grassroots activities, including grasstops (high-level grassroots), coalition building, letter writing, and database building.

Read the full text of the legislation and watch the committee markup. To learn more about the Regulatory Relief Coalition, you may visit the following website page. For more information about healthcare policy and advocacy, Peggy Tighe can be reached at Peggy.Tighe@PowersLaw.com or 202-875-6752.

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