New Legislation to Improve Care for Patients Jointly Enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid

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A group of U.S. Senators have unveiled a bill aimed at improving care for patients jointly enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. Approximately 12.2 million low-income or disabled people in the United States are jointly enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid. Dual eligibles are a diverse group with a complex, unique set of needs. This population includes individuals with multiple chronic conditions, physical disabilities, mental illness, and cognitive impairments such as dementia and developmental disabilities, and others who are relatively healthy. Members of the Senate Duals Working Group including Tom Carper spoke at a news conference today….

Carper says the bipartisan legislation would reduce many of the complexities in the nation’s health care system for this particular population.

Over the last year, the Senate  Duals Working Group sought feedback from the health care and patient communities to develop legislation that would improve coverage for dual eligibles. In May 2023, the Working Group released discussion draft legislation for feedback. The new bill was unveiled today at a news conference, and Senator Tom Carper, a member of the Working Group says beneficiaries who are dually eligible for both are often times the sickest and most vulnerable patients in our country…

While representing a small proportion of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, dual eligibles account for a disproportionate share of overall spending. In the Medicare program, 19% of enrollees are dually eligible but account for 34% of spending. Similarly, 14% of Medicaid enrollees are dually eligible but constitute 30% of overall spending. In 2019, combined Medicare and Medicaid spending on dual eligibles rose to a total of $440.2 billion.


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