Gardner, Coons Introduce Bill to Strengthen Medicare

Washington, DC – Senators Cory Gardner (R-CO) and Chris Coons (D-DE) introduced the Reducing Medicare Costs Through Innovation Act, legislation that aims to strengthen and protect the Medicare program by spurring innovation to reduce costs.


The Reducing Medicare Costs Through Innovation Act establishes a program which would award grants to small, entrepreneurial labs pursuing commercialization for new drugs or medical devices that have the greatest potential to significantly reduce the top 10 cost drivers to the Medicare program while maintaining and improving quality of care. The legislation also requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to establish an optional coordinated review pilot program that simultaneously assesses grantees for FDA approval and a national coverage determination under the Medicare program. Currently, HHS and CMS evaluate grantees first for FDA approval and then national coverage determination, which prolongs access for Medicare beneficiaries. Lastly, the bill requires the Secretary of HHS to prepare and submit an annual report to Congress about the cost savings and improvements in care resulting from the commercialization grant program.


“According to the Congressional Budget Office, Medicare benefit payments reached $597 billion in 2014 and accounted for 14 percent of the federal budget. In order to address the sustainability of the Medicare program, it’s important that we do everything we can to encourage innovation and bring down the cost of care,” said Gardner. “The Reducing Medicare Costs Through Innovation Act is a commonsense bill that has the potential to not only save the Medicare program money, but it could also lead to higher quality care and improved patient outcomes.”


“I am proud to join Senator Gardner in introducing this bill to assist more small businesses in getting their innovate technology to the market, in turn reducing long-term costs to our Medicare program. As a member of the Senate Small Business Committee, finding ways to help small businesses grow is something I’ve been proud to champion and I look forward to moving this bill forward," said Coons.