No: 108-4
Date: March 31, 2003

House Committee on Energy and Commerce Approves H.R 810, the Medicare Regulatory and Contracting Reform Act of 2003

On March 26, 2003, the Committee on Energy and Commerce approved by voice vote and cleared, as amended for floor action, H.R. 810, the Medicare Regulatory and Contracting Reform Act of 2003. Similar language passed the House unanimously last Congress on December 4, 2001 as H.R. 3391.

As reported by the Committee, H.R. 810 includes the following provisions of interest to SSA.

Transfer of Responsibility for Medicare Appeals

  • Requires SSA and HHS to develop a plan under which the functions of Administrative Law Judges for hearing Medicare cases will be transferred from SSA to HHS. Authorizes HHS to hire Administrative Law Judges to hear these cases and to hire support staff for these judges. Requires HHS to enter into agreements with SSA as appropriate to share office space, support staff, and other resources with respect to the transferred functions of Administrative Law Judges, with appropriate reimbursement from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.
  • SSA and HHS must develop and transmit this plan to Congress and the Comptroller General by October 1, 2004. The Comptroller General must submit to Congress a report evaluating this plan no later than six months after the date on which the plan is received. SSA and HHS shall implement this plan no sooner than July 1, 2005, and no later than October 1, 2005.

Beneficiary Outreach Demonstration Program

Medicare Specialists

  • Would establish a demonstration program under which Medicare specialists employed by HHS would provide advice and assistance to beneficiaries regarding the Medicare program in at least six offices (two or more serving rural areas) of the Social Security Administration. This demonstration project will last three years.