Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Monday, March 14, 2005

BILL TO HELP CONTROL MEDICARE COSTS

Authorizes medical nutritional therapy treatments to keep people healthier

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Legislation was introduced today in the U.S. Senate to authorize Medicare to cover Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) for all diseases and conditions where treatment is reasonable, necessary, and cost effective. Idaho Senator Larry Craig and Senator Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., are the chief sponsors.

MNT can be used to promote health and functionality and affects the quality of life for many Americans. It is an effective disease management component that lessens chronic disease risk, slows disease progression, and reduces symptoms.

Craig and Bingaman introduced the legislation to help control Medicare costs and to provide a higher quality of life for our seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries. Craig stated, “MNT is a proven treatment option which reduces costs and improves people’s lives. Congress should allow medical professionals, not arbitrary laws, to determine the best treatment option.”

Currently, Medicare beneficiaries can have access to MNT, but only for the care of diabetes and kidney diseases. This legislation grants the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) the authority, using the National Coverage Determination process, to expand the MNT benefit. CMS reported to Congress last year that there are other conditions, such as hypertension and dyslipimedia, HIV/AIDS and cancer, where evidence supports the cost-effectiveness of MNT as part of the care plan.

Craig continued, “It just makes sense for CMS to direct this benefit appropriately without having to get Congressional approval for each and every disease.”

Please visit Senator Craig's website to view the text of the legislation.

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