WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the House of Representatives passed the Medicaid Primary Care Improvement Act, bipartisan legislation that clarifies that state Medicaid programs have the authority to broaden health care access for Medicaid beneficiaries, including through direct primary care.

Reps. Dan Crenshaw and Kim Schier introduced the legislation to expand access to personalized health care, including allowing patients to access primary care services at a flat, monthly rate. This will reduce costs by providing preventive care and lessening the burden on overused emergency room services.

“This bill incentivizes a form of healthcare that is better for patients, and for the American taxpayer,” said Congressman Crenshaw. “Passing this bill will save lives by encouraging preventive care that catches and treats routine medical issues before they become major health problems.”    

“As a doctor, I know how crucial access to consistent primary care is for the health of families and children. Dependable access to primary care can be the key to catching and addressing medical issues early on and reducing costly trips to the emergency room,” said Congresswoman Schrier. “By making it clear that Medicaid can participate in direct primary care arrangements, this legislation will help expand access to primary care and achieve better health outcomes, and I’m thrilled to see it pass the House.”

Read the full bill text here. 

See Rep. Crenshaw speak about the bill here. 

What they are saying: 

“H.R. 3836, the Medicaid Primary Care Improvement Act, is a bipartisan bill which clarifies that states can work with CMS to provide Medicaid beneficiaries great access to primary care using direct primary care (DPC). Medicaid beneficiaries have a hard time finding a primary care doctor.  So many lower income Americans get sicker because do without the care they need—which leads to more complicated treatment later.  Or they show up in the ER to treat routine conditions. DPC is an advanced payment model (APM) that allows for a personal relationship with a primary care doctor of the patient’s choice at a reasonable cost. By providing access to DPC rather than fee for service care, states can help low-income Americans improve their health with great primary care for a fraction of the cost of the same care delivered in the hospital or ER. In a year when not much seems to get done on a bipartisan basis, we are so thrilled that Reps. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX) and Kim Schrier, MD (D-WA) brought their colleagues together to pass H.R. 3836 unanimously in the Energy and Commerce Committee last July.  I applaud the members of the House for passing this bill today and I urge the Senate to take up this measure for swift passage!” - Jay Keese, Executive Director, Direct Primary Care Coalition. 

“Direct primary care (DPC) provides a pathway to continuous, comprehensive, coordinated primary care for patients. However, too many physicians face legal and financial obstacles to fully embrace this model. The AAFP applauds House passage of the Medicaid Primary Care Improvement Act. This legislation will ensure state Medicaid programs can pay for DPC arrangements for beneficiaries. Addressing this barrier will help improve access to primary care for some of the nation’s most vulnerable and underserved populations.” – Steven P. Furr, MD, FAAFP, President, American Academy of Family Physicians. 

"I'm glad to see the U.S. House of Representatives pass Congressman Crenshaw's bipartisan bill to expand access to personalized health care. Look at any states' Medicaid care utilization data; Americans can't find a primary care doctor and are often stuck driving miles to the nearest emergency room to wait hours to be seen for only minutes. That's not quality healthcare. By allowing states to give their Medicaid enrollees access to value-based direct primary care doctors, low-income patients will have better health outcomes, get care faster, and have a physician advocate to help them navigate our complex healthcare system." - Tanner Aliff, Texas Public Policy Foundation.