December 11, 2001

House Passes
H.R. 3391, the Medicare Regulatory and
Contracting Reform Act of 2001

On December 4, 2001, the House passed, by a vote of 408 to 0, H.R. 3391, the Medicare Regulatory and Contracting Reform Act of 2001. As passed by the House, H.R. 3391 includes the following provisions of interest to SSA.

Transfer of Responsibility for Medicare Appeals

  • Requires SSA and DHHS to develop a plan under which the functions of Administrative Law Judges for hearing Medicare cases will be transferred from SSA to DHHS. Authorizes DHHS to hire Administrative Law Judges to hear these cases and to hire support staff for these judges. Requires DHHS to enter into agreements with SSA as appropriate to share resources (such as office space and support staff) with respect to the transferred functions of Administrative Law Judges, with appropriate reimbursement from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund and Federal Supplemental Medical Insurance Trust Fund.
  • SSA and DHHS must develop and transmit this plan to Congress and the Comptroller General by October 1, 2002. The Comptroller General must submit to Congress a report evaluating this plan by April 1, 2003. SSA and DHHS shall implement this plan no sooner than July 1, 2003, and no later than October 1, 2003.

Beneficiary Outreach Demonstration Program

  • Requires DHHS to create a Medicare specialist position. The Medicare specialist will provide advice and assistance to Medicare beneficiaries at local Social Security offices. These specialists will be located in at least six offices or areas. This demonstration project will last three years.
  • Effective upon enactment.

The House Committee on Ways and Means and the Committee on Energy and Commerce developed the bill. The provisions requiring the transfer of Administrative Law Judge functions and the creation of the Medicare specialist position are similar to the provisions found in H.R. 2768 and H.R. 3046 that address these issues.