February 10, 2023

Cassidy, Blumenthal, Wenstrup, Larson Introduce Bill Expanding Seniors’ Access to Affordable Outpatient Surgical Care

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and U.S. Representatives Brad Wenstrup, D.P.M. (R-OH-02) and John Larson (D-CT-01) reintroduced bipartisan, bicameral legislation to help Medicare beneficiaries access affordable outpatient surgical care. Ambulatory Surgery Centers (ASC) offer many essential outpatient services at low prices and are projected to save Medicare billions of dollars in the coming years, but restrictions and misaligned reimbursement rules limit seniors’ access to these centers—and lead to higher taxpayer costs. The Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act would, close the reimbursement gap, eliminate copay penalties for Medicare beneficiaries, and address other barriers standing between patients and affordable, quality care.

“Seniors deserve the best care possible. Our bill provides quality care for patients at a better value to the taxpayer by increasing Medicare access to ambulatory surgical centers,” said Dr. Cassidy.

“Patients shouldn’t be charged more for a procedure just because it was performed by an outpatient provider. The current restrictions on Ambulatory Surgery Centers are an unnecessary burden – limiting seniors’ access to care and driving up health care costs,” said Senator Blumenthal. “Our bill will ensure patients have access to the quality care they deserve and save taxpayers money.” 

“As a physician, I understand how important it is that patients receive the care they need. Ambulatory surgical centers play an important role in providing this care and this bill will improve access to these vital facilities,” said Dr. Wenstrup, D.P.M. 

“I am proud to join my colleagues to introduce this legislation to expand access to outpatient surgical care, saving Connecticut residents and Americans across the country valuable dollars. This bill is another step in ensuring quality and accessible care, while ensuring seniors’ tax dollars are spent wisely,” said Representative Larson.

The Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act would close the reimbursement gap that often leads Medicare to pay hospital outpatient departments twice as much as ASCs for identical services, provide patients with cost and quality comparison measures, and increase transparency surrounding decisions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) about covering procedures performed by ASCs.

The Outpatient Surgery Quality and Access Act is endorsed by Ambulatory Surgery Center Association.