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Pallone’s Remarks on Medicare Advantage Special Needs Plans at Health Hearing

Jul 26, 2017
Press Release

Washington, D.C. Energy and Commerce Ranking Member Frank Pallone, Jr. (D-NJ) submitted the following remarks for the record during today’s Subcommittee on Health hearing titled, “Examining the Extension of Special Needs Plans:”

Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for calling this hearing to consider the extension of Special Needs Plans, an important subset of Medicare Advantage plans for some of our highest-need Medicare beneficiaries.

It is so important that our Committee consider the extension of SNPs, as they are often called, and any related policy changes with the program closely. These types of plans serve some of our most complex and vulnerable patients: those that are institutionalized or have serious chronic illnesses, and those that are dually-eligible for Medicare and Medicaid.

It is undeniable, also, that these types of Medicare plans have a unique interaction with Medicaid. And, as the Chairman has heard me say so many times, the Energy & Commerce Committee has the critical responsibility and privilege of overseeing and protecting the Medicaid program.  First and foremost, we should ensure that people who are dually eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid or living with a chronic illness have a seamless experience—regardless of what plan or combination of benefits they may elect to receive. 

At times, this goal has been challenging, but I know that we have a good opportunity before us with the reauthorization of SNPs to continue to further that goal. 

Today, I look forward to discussing how we can best continue to integrate benefits and provide high quality care to people that have chosen a SNP plan to provide their care.  Our colleagues on the Ways & Means Committee, and the Senate Finance Committee have both done excellent work over the past several months to further the growth and development of SNPs in the Medicare program. And now, I look forward to adding the voice of the Energy & Commerce Committee to that important work.