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Smith co-sponsors bill to lower costs for chronic disease prevention

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Sen. Tina Smith

Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., helped introduce bipartisan legislation — led by Sens. John Thune. R-S.D., and Tom Carper, D-Del. — to lower health care costs by allowing high-deductible health plans to provide chronic disease prevention services—including insulin for diabetes—to plan enrollees before they reach their plan deductible.

The Chronic Disease Management Act builds on legislation introduced last year, and it follows updated guidance issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury last summer.

In July of last year, the IRS issued a notice expanding its interpretation of what constitutes preventive care to include certain items and services that are prescribed to someone with certain chronic conditions. Those items or services can be considered preventive when they are prescribed to an individual with certain chronic conditions and if they are low-cost and prevent the worsening of a chronic condition or the development of a secondary condition. The notice also contained a list of specific items and services that meet the new criteria for preventive care for chronic conditions.

“I’ve heard from so many Minnesotans with diabetes who struggle to afford the life-saving insulin they need to survive,” Smith stated in a news release. “This bill would help lower costs for people with diabetes and other chronic diseases who have high-deductible health plans. I’m glad it has bipartisan support, and I will push to get it over the finish line.”

In addition to Sens. Smith, Thune and Carper, the bill is supported by Sens. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., and Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz.

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