WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging Ranking Member Tim Scott (R-S.C.) and Chairman Bob Casey (D-Pa.) held a hearing titled “Improving Care Experiences for People with both Medicare and Medicaid,” which examined the challenges people with both Medicare and Medicaid face in navigating two distinct health care programs as well as opportunities to improve care for this population.
Scott and Casey also introduced their bipartisan PACE Expanded Act to increase the availability of the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) nationwide that enables people with Medicare and Medicaid to receive all of their benefits through a single organization, rather than navigating separate Medicare and Medicaid coverage.
“Individuals who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid have some of the greatest health needs in our nation, yet they are often left with fragmented care,” said Ranking Member Scott. “As ranking member of the Senate Aging Committee, I’m committed to ensuring our most vulnerable populations receive the care they need. Expanding PACE to more seniors in need will help do just that.”
“There are millions of Americans eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid, but the systems are so fragmented and complex it often leads to gaps in care,” said Chairman Casey. “My bill with Senator Scott, the PACE Expanded Act, would streamline services and enable people with a high level of need to stay in the community rather than receiving care in a nursing home. Older Americans and people with disabilities shouldn’t face obstacles to get the care they need, when they need it, in the setting they prefer.”
People who qualify for both Medicare and Medicaid often have complex medical conditions, behavioral health needs, cognitive or physical disabilities and are living in poverty. They are twice as likely to use a skilled nursing facility and 10 percent more likely to have an inpatient hospital stay than Medicare-only beneficiaries. The COVID-19 pandemic has further highlighted the vulnerabilities of Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries. Data shows there were more than twice as many COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations among Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries compared to Medicare-only.
During the hearing, the committee also heard from Eunice Medina, chief of staff at the South Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (SCDHHS). Medina discussed SCDHHS’s work to improve the quality of care for the dual eligible population as well as the importance of flexibility when designing a program to meet their needs.
View full text of the PACE Expanded Act here.