On December 19th, by a vote of 401 to 3, the U.S. House of Representatives, on a motion to suspend the rules, passed the Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act. The SMART Act was introduced in March 2011 as H.R. 1063 by Dr. Tim Murphy (R-PA) and Ron Kind (D-WI). In a procedural effort to move the bill to the House floor for a vote, the SMART Act was included in H.R. 1845, dealing with Medicare coverage for in-home intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) treatment. A motion to suspend the rules is a procedure used by the House to quickly pass non-controversial bills.
The SMART Act has broad bi-partisan support in Congress and wide industry support. The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC), which is the main driving force behind the SMART Act claims that the legislation will “significantly improve the efficiency of the current Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) system and speed repayment of amounts owed from Medicare beneficiary claims directly to the Medicare Trust Fund.” Specifically, the MARC coalition says that the bill will:
- “Require CMS to issue a demand BEFORE a settlement, judgment or award in certain liability claims;
- Establish a 3-year statute of limitations
- Abolish the use of SSN for Section 111 Reporting
- Establish a right of appeal for insurance companies and self-insureds
- Soften Section 111 penalties giving HHS discretion when it issues such penalties
- Establish annual minimum thresholds for Section 111 reporting, where the cost to HHS is greater than the recovery.”
Medivest strongly supports the SMART Act and congratulates the MARC Coalition for their dedicated efforts to get this bill passed by the House. The bill will now move over to the Senate for consideration.