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Gus Bilirakis Backs Proposal to Keep Medicare Access to Laboratory Services

U.S. Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., is championing a proposal to “protect American seniors’ access to laboratory services and testing that are threatened by Medicare payment cuts” and to “protect patient access to critical laboratory services and strengthen infrastructure in clinical laboratories.”

This week, U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-NC, introduced the “Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA)” with Bilirakis among the main co-sponsors. Other backers include U.S. Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick, R-Penn., Bill Pascrell, D-NJ, and Scott Peters, D-Calif.

Today, U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Richard Hudson, and Scott Peters of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick and Bill Pascrell of the Ways and Means Committee, introduced the Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA). This bipartisan legislation seeks to protect American seniors’ access to laboratory services and testing that are threatened by Medicare payment cuts. SALSA would protect patient access to critical laboratory services and strengthen infrastructure in clinical laboratories.

“Seniors deserve access to high quality medical care, which includes diagnostic laboratory services and other tests with the potential to save lives through early detection and individualized assessment of patient needs. Our bipartisan SALSA legislation will help ensure that continued access by providing a permanent solution to clinical laboratory reimbursement and protecting public health and innovation. I look forward to working with my colleagues to secure passage and get this critical legislation across the finish line,” said Bilirakis.

“As we saw during the COVID-19 pandemic, our clinical laboratories play a crucial role in our healthcare system, providing seniors with critical diagnostic services that offer early disease detection and access to tailored treatment, prevention, and care,” said Hudson. “The Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act (SALSA) would offer a much-needed lifeline to our labs and help remedy unintended payment cuts that could endanger lives. I am proud to lead this bipartisan, bicameral effort, and look forward to working with my colleagues to ensure continued and timely access to lab services for our seniors.”

“The health of our seniors relies heavily on critical diagnostic testing, and current law threatens Medicare beneficiaries’ ability to access these services,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m proud to co-lead this bipartisan legislation that will ensure our seniors have full access to high-quality lab services.”

“In the wake of the pandemic, lab access for our senior neighbors is more important now than at any moment in the recent past,” said Pascrell. “Prompt, full access to lab services is essential to protecting seniors who suffer from heart disease, cancer, and other common maladies. Because of an unfortunate statutory interpretation by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, lab access and aid under Medicare faces outrageous cuts that will harm seniors and hurt the American economy. We are teaming up with a bipartisan coalition to develop a comprehensive solution, so our neediest neighbors are protected and have the medical care they deserve.”

“Seniors rely on access to laboratory services for essential screening, detection, and treatment for common medical conditions,” said Peters. “SALSA is a bipartisan, commonsense solution that will ensure seniors can get the tests and treatments they need. After nearly a decade of threats to the diagnostics they rely on, seniors deserve the certainty this bill would provide.”

The bill was sent over to the U.S. House Energy and Commerce and the Ways and Means Committees.

Over in the U.S. Senate, the companion measure is being backed by U.S. Sens. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and Thom Tillis, R-NC.

“Clinical labs are an essential part of our health care infrastructure, providing critical services – from COVID-19 diagnostics to innovative genomic testing,” said Brown. “Right now, current law threatens the access of Ohioans on Medicare to these vital lab services, which is why I’m proud to partner with my colleague Senator Tillis to ensure seniors continue to have access to high-quality diagnostic services, by protecting access to clinical labs.”

“It is critically important that seniors have uninterrupted access to innovative diagnostic tests,” said Tillis. “The Saving Access to Laboratory Services Act is a necessary step toward ensuring this access and supporting seniors’ health care needs. I’m proud to work with my colleagues to permanently fix flawed data collection and reporting methods which will allow Medicare beneficiaries to continue receiving quality and affordable lab services.”

The American Clinical Laboratory (ACLA) and the National Independent Laboratory Association are backing the bill.

Author

  • Kevin Derby

    Originally from Jacksonville, Kevin Derby is a contributing writer for Florida Daily and covers politics across Florida.

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