Strength­en­ing Medi­care

In­dus­try to su­per­com­mit­tee: Back ex­change pro­gram

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jes­sica Zig­mond

As health­care groups lobby the deficit-re­duc­tion su­per­com­mit­tee on what it shouldn’t do, the CEOs of nearly 50 health­care or­ga­ni­za­tions are telling the law­mak­ers what they should do to sus­tain the Medi­care pro­gram over the long haul.

The Health­care Lead­er­ship Coun­cil re­leased its plan one day af­ter the Joint Se­lect Com­mit­tee on Deficit Re­duc­tion held its first hear­ing, which cen­tered on the driv­ers of Amer­ica’s debt and its threats. Rep­re­sent­ing a broad range of the health­care in­dus­try— in­clud­ing hos­pi­tals, drug and de­vice man­u­fac­tur­ers, health plans, nurses and the post-acute com­pa­nies—the coun­cil mapped out four rec­om­men­da­tions that it says will lead to Medi­care’s long-term vi­a­bil­ity and $410 bil­lion in sav­ings to the pro­gram over the next 10 years.

The coun­cil agreed unan­i­mously to the four rec­om­men­da­tions, in­clud­ing a new Medi­care ex­change in which pri­vate health plans would com­pete on the ba­sis of cost, qual­ity and value. The plan also sug­gests grad­u­ally in­creas­ing the Medi­care el­i­gi­bil­ity age to 67 from 65, cap­ping non-eco­nomic dam­ages in mal­prac­tice law­suits and re­form­ing Medi­care’s cost struc­ture.

Un­der the pro­posal, ben­e­fi­cia­ries would

AP PHOTO

Rep. Jeb Hen­sar­ling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), co-chairs of the su­per­com­mit­tee, con­vene the panel’s first hear­ing on Sept. 13.

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