5:46 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, after my remarks, I will include in the Record an exchange of letters between the committees of jurisdiction.

I stand in strong support of H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015. This is commonsense legislation. It is truly about transparency in healthcare data.

Medicare Advantage currently makes up close to one-third of the Medicare program's enrollees. The Congressional Budget Office projects that Medicare enrollment numbers will swell over the next decade and that Medicare Advantage will grow to over 40 percent of Medicare.

It will be beneficial for Members of Congress to fully understand what the makeup of health enrollment is in their district, whether it is Medicare Advantage; part D, the prescription drug plan; or fee-for-service. Members and their staff will be able to serve their constituents better and more [Page: H4484]

fully with access to this data. As we continue to work on, process, and pass legislation to improve the Medicare program, getting this enrollment snapshot will

provide very necessary transparency and openness.

I want to thank the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly), Mr. Kind, and Mr. Bilirakis for their hard work in getting this legislation through the committee and to the House floor.

With that, Mr. Speaker, I reserve the balance of my time.

.

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON ENERGY AND COMMERCE,

Washington, DC, June 12, 2015.

Hon. PAUL RYAN,

Chairman, Committee on Ways and Means, Washington, DC.

Dear Chairman Ryan: I write in regard to H.R. 2505, Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015, which was ordered reported by the Committee on Ways and Means on June 2, 2015. As you are aware, the bill also was referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce. I wanted to notify you that the Committee on Energy and Commerce will forgo action on H.R. 2505 so that it may proceed expeditiously to the House floor for consideration.

This is done with the understanding that the Committee on Energy and Commerce's jurisdictional interests over this and similar legislation are in no way diminished or altered. In addition, the Committee reserves the right to seek conferees on H.R. 2505 and requests your support when such a request is made.

I would appreciate your response confirming this understanding with respect to H.R. 2505 and ask that a copy of our exchange of letters on this matter be included in the Congressional Record during consideration of the bill on the House floor.

Sincerely,

Fred Upton,

Chairman.

--

HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES,

COMMITTEE ON WAYS AND MEANS,

Washington, DC, June 9, 2015.

Hon. Fred Upton,

Chairman, Committee on Energy and Commerce, Washington, DC.

Dear Mr. Chairman: Thank you for your letter regarding the Committee's jurisdictional interest in H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act of 2015, and your willingness to forego consideration by your committee.

I agree that the Committee on Energy and Commerce has a valid jurisdictional interest in certain provisions of the bill and that the Committee's jurisdiction will not be adversely affected by your decision to forego consideration. As you have requested, I will support your request for an appropriate appointment of outside conferees from your committee in the event of a House-Senate conference on this or similar legislation should such a conference be convened.

Finally, I will include a copy of your letter and this response in the Congressional Record during the floor consideration of H.R. 2505. Thank you again for your cooperation.

Sincerely,

Paul Ryan,

Chairman.

5:47 PM EDT

Charles B. Rangel, D-NY 13th

Mr. RANGEL. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

I concur with the gentleman from Texas. My dear friend Mike Kelly and Congressman Ron Kind have worked together in trying to get more information for the Congress from our congressional districts to see exactly what the enrollments are in Medicare. It makes us better legislators so we can improve the bill.

I think these bills are worthy of the support of the House of Representatives, and I reserve the balance of my time.

5:48 PM EDT

Kevin Brady, R-TX 8th

Mr. BRADY of Texas. Mr. Speaker, I am proud to yield 4 minutes to the gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Kelly), a new member of the Ways and Means Committee and a businessperson who understands the openness and transparency required to improve Medicare.

5:48 PM EDT

Mike Kelly, R-PA 3rd

Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, Thomas Jefferson once opined:

The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

Jefferson's vision for our democracy was premised on the notion that individuals are intelligent enough to determine the best choices for their lives, their families, and their communities, and not some monolithic, paternalistic government.

A prerequisite to being well-informed, however, is to ensure that the American people have adequate information about how Federal policies and decisions made in Washington will or are impacting their lives. That is why transparency is so vital to our system of government: it provides the necessary information to educate or our on which our democracy depends.

Laws and their impacts should not be shrouded in secrecy. Congress and the administration need to be fostering a culture of openness and transparency when legislating and making decisions here in Washington. That is what this legislation is all about: providing more transparency to the American people about their health care, specifically Medicare Advantage coverage.

H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act, is a bill to do just that. With passage of H.R. 2505, CMS will be required to provide additional information on Medicare Advantage enrollment based on ZIP Code, congressional district, and State.

This data will be available for both Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans as well as regular Medicare Advantage. Enrollment data under part A, part B, enrollment under an MA plan under part C, and enrollment under part D would also be covered.

The purpose of this additional data is to provide greater information to the public, policymakers, and the healthcare community so that they have the benefit of more and better information when making decisions.

CMS should provide a more transparent accounting of Medicare enrollment data to Congress, other government offices, and the American people so committees of jurisdiction can better understand how Medicare is serving the healthcare needs of the Nation as well as individual congressional districts.

H.R. 2505 would require an annual report on Medicare enrollment data so that Members of Congress have more accurate information regarding the constituents' use of Medicare programs. Such transparency will allow Americans and Members of Congress to better know and understand the scope of Medicare enrollment on a local level as well as the specific population affected.

In 2014, the majority of the 54 million people on Medicare are in the traditional Medicare program, with 30 percent enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Since 2004, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has almost tripled--from 5.3 million to 15.7 million in 2014.

In Pennsylvania, 18 percent of the total population in the Commonwealth is enrolled in some form of Medicare. Of the 18 percent, 39 percent of those Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. That means that 7 percent of Pennsylvanians are enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan.

This legislation will give me and my constituents more information about how changes to Medicare Advantage plans in Washington will impact my constituents at home in the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania and every Member and their constituents around this great country.

I want to thank Chairman Ryan for bringing up this bill. I also want to thank Leader McCarthy for bringing this bill to the floor.

5:48 PM EDT

Mike Kelly, R-PA 3rd

Mr. KELLY of Pennsylvania. I thank the gentleman for yielding.

Mr. Speaker, Thomas Jefferson once opined:

The cornerstone of democracy rests on the foundation of an educated electorate. Whenever the people are well-informed, they can be trusted with their own government.

Jefferson's vision for our democracy was premised on the notion that individuals are intelligent enough to determine the best choices for their lives, their families, and their communities, and not some monolithic, paternalistic government.

A prerequisite to being well-informed, however, is to ensure that the American people have adequate information about how Federal policies and decisions made in Washington will or are impacting their lives. That is why transparency is so vital to our system of government: it provides the necessary information to educate or our on which our democracy depends.

Laws and their impacts should not be shrouded in secrecy. Congress and the administration need to be fostering a culture of openness and transparency when legislating and making decisions here in Washington. That is what this legislation is all about: providing more transparency to the American people about their health care, specifically Medicare Advantage coverage.

H.R. 2505, the Medicare Advantage Coverage Transparency Act, is a bill to do just that. With passage of H.R. 2505, CMS will be required to provide additional information on Medicare Advantage enrollment based on ZIP Code, congressional district, and State.

This data will be available for both Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans as well as regular Medicare Advantage. Enrollment data under part A, part B, enrollment under an MA plan under part C, and enrollment under part D would also be covered.

The purpose of this additional data is to provide greater information to the public, policymakers, and the healthcare community so that they have the benefit of more and better information when making decisions.

CMS should provide a more transparent accounting of Medicare enrollment data to Congress, other government offices, and the American people so committees of jurisdiction can better understand how Medicare is serving the healthcare needs of the Nation as well as individual congressional districts.

H.R. 2505 would require an annual report on Medicare enrollment data so that Members of Congress have more accurate information regarding the constituents' use of Medicare programs. Such transparency will allow Americans and Members of Congress to better know and understand the scope of Medicare enrollment on a local level as well as the specific population affected.

In 2014, the majority of the 54 million people on Medicare are in the traditional Medicare program, with 30 percent enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan. Since 2004, the number of beneficiaries enrolled in private plans has almost tripled--from 5.3 million to 15.7 million in 2014.

In Pennsylvania, 18 percent of the total population in the Commonwealth is enrolled in some form of Medicare. Of the 18 percent, 39 percent of those Medicare beneficiaries are enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans. That means that 7 percent of Pennsylvanians are enrolled in the Medicare Advantage plan.

This legislation will give me and my constituents more information about how changes to Medicare Advantage plans in Washington will impact my constituents at home in the Third Congressional District of Pennsylvania and every Member and their constituents around this great country.

I want to thank Chairman Ryan for bringing up this bill. I also want to thank Leader McCarthy for bringing this bill to the floor.