Congresswoman Suzan DelBene hosts roundtable with CMS administrator on cutting health insurance red tape, improving care for seniors

July 10, 2024

Congresswoman Suzan DelBene recently hosted a roundtable discussion with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, Washington patients and physicians to discuss the policy changes taking place that will improve Washingtonians’ access to health services and reduce the burden on Washington providers.

“Today’s discussion underscores the pressing need for us to bring this outdated practice into the 21st century so that seniors can get the care they deserve when they need it,” Rep. DelBene said. “The Biden Administration’s recent regulations were a great step forward, but we must go further and make these gains permanent. I will continue pushing Congress to pass my bipartisan legislation that would deliver better care for our seniors and ease unnecessary burdens for physicians and hospitals.”

“CMS is dedicated to removing barriers in the health system so that people have timely access to the care they need,” CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure said. “We applaud Congresswoman DelBene’s efforts to build upon what CMS is doing to streamline prior authorization so that doctors and nurses can spend more time taking care of their patients instead of focusing on red tape.”

Washingtonians joined the discussion to share their personal stories, including:

  • David Baker, a Medicare Advantage patient from Kenmore, had to wait in pain for days while his insurance processed his prior authorization for knee surgery following a fall.
  • Rick Timmins, a Medicare Advantage patient from Whidbey Island, had to wait several weeks to be approved for a cancer screening for a lump that was ultimately positive, delaying his treatment for the disease.
  • Robin Sparks, a patient from Marysville, had her chemotherapy delayed for multiple months while she underwent treatment for lymphoma.
  • Kathi Nash, a Medicare Advantage patient from Leavenworth, had her rehabilitative care cut off after two weeks following a total hip reconstruction when she was fully bed-bound.

In January, HHS issued new regulations aimed at curbing abuses in prior authorization that closely mirrors bipartisan legislation that DelBene has introduced for years.

DelBene recently reintroduced legislation that would codify those policies and provide CMS with additional tools to reign in health insurance plan abuses and improve care. (Cassie Sauer)


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