WASHINGTON, Dec. 21, 2012 — The Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) today applauded the United States Senate for passage of The Strengthening Medicare and Repaying Taxpayers (SMART) Act – H.R. 1063, now renumbered as H.R. 1845. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Or) and Rob Portman (R-Oh) introduced the legislation in the fall of 2011, and have been leading the bipartisan effort to make the Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) Program more efficient and cost effective to taxpayers. The SMART Act, which gathered 23 co-sponsors during its consideration by the Senate, was passed by the House of Representatives by a margin of 401-3 on December 19, 2012. The Senate this evening passed the legislation by Unanimous Consent.
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.
“We are delighted that the Senate has approved the legislation,” said Roy Franco, Co-Chair of MARC, and Chief Legal Officer of Franco Signor, representing the MSP efforts of Safeway. “We particularly appreciate the leadership of Senators Wyden and Portman on this legislation, which will streamline the Medicare process for tens of thousands of Medicare beneficiaries, and will restore millions to the Medicare Trust Fund faster,” he stated.
The SMART Act was estimated by the Congressional Budget office to save taxpayers $45 million over 10 years. As part of the procedural effort to move the bill to the House floor, it was included within H.R. 1845, addressing a Medicare demonstration program. The Senate, by Unanimous Consent, considered the bill following House passage.
Dean Pappas, Co-Chair of MARC and Vice President & Assistant General Counsel for Federal Affairs with Allstate Insurance Company, also applauded Senate action today. “The Senate vote today is a huge advance in MSP reform, and will eliminate considerable fraud waste for the government. The bi-partisan leadership shown by Senators Wyden and Portman in passing the SMART Act will be of huge assistance in bringing good government to the MSP repayment process. Medicare recipients, businesses large and small, and the Medicare Trust Fund will all benefit as a result,” said Pappas.
The SMART Act enjoys strong, bipartisan support, and has been endorsed by a broad variety of stakeholders, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National League of Cities, the nation’s leading insurers, and retailers and other businesses large and small nationwide.
The SMART Act now goes to the President for signature.
Read the original release here.