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Ranking Member Neal Opening Statement at Markup of Bipartisan Health & Oversight Bills

July 13, 2017
Press Release

(Remarks as prepared)

Mr. Chairman, thanks for holding this bipartisan markup today. I hope we hold more meetings like these—this is what the American people want and expect from their members—to get things done in a bipartisan manner. 

I am pleased that you and I were able to work together to develop these common sense bills to improve Medicare and the rules governing civil asset forfeiture proceedings. 

The first bill we’ll consider today is the Medicare Part B Improvement Act-- a collection of bipartisan low or no cost Medicare Part B policies recently introduced in the House.  Chairman Brady and I, Health Subcommittee Members Chairman Tiberi and Ranking Member Levin, are original cosponsors of the overarching measure and I encourage my colleagues to support it.  Specifically, the bill includes a common sense transitional policy for home infusion services led by Mr. Tiberi and Mr. Pascrell to help ensure access to home infusion for Medicare beneficiaries.

It also includes a measure cosponsored by our colleagues Mr. Bishop and Mr. Thompson to streamline Medicare rules to improve access to medically necessary prosthetics and orthotics.

Mr. Lewis is the leader on language to address accreditation process backlogs for dialysis facilities that treat end-stage renal disease. And our colleagues Ms. DelBene and Mr. Thompson are cosponsors of a bill to allow telehealth for patients who receive dialysis at home.

The measure also includes clarification language to Stark laws that Mr. Kind led to provide more certainty for Medicare providers.

The second health bill we will consider today is HR 3168, introduced by Mr. Tiberi and Mr. Levin to modify and extend the Medicare Special Needs Plans, or SNPs. This bill makes a few minor policy changes consistent with recommendations from MedPAC.

While not all our members have SNPs operating in their districts, we all understand and recognize their importance. I am proud to have a number of SNPS that reside in or serve residents in my district.  

The third bill we’ll consider today is oversight legislation sponsored by Mr. Crowley and Mr. Roskam that passed the House unanimously last September. The proposal ties back to the Bank Secrecy Act, which set up reporting obligations for certain activities such as depositing more than $10,000 in cash. Unfortunately, some taxpayers engaged in legal activities got tangled in these proceedings because they were frequently depositing cash sales as part of their normal, legitimate business plan. Until 2014, the IRS took a hard line and pursued civil asset forfeiture against taxpayers when the money used for structured deposits was acquired legally or illegally, but they have since stopped the practice.  This legislation would codify the present approach and stipulate that any interest paid on returned property is nontaxable.

I thank all the bill sponsors for their hard work on these bills.  Thank you Mr. Chairman, again, for working with me on this markup.  I encourage my colleagues to support all of the measures before us today and I yield back the balance of my time.