MedPAC Advances Promising Medicare Reform Proposals

NCHC Writers
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March 15, 2012


March 15, 2012

Contact: Lindsay Harnish


MedPAC Advances Promising Medicare Reform Proposals

Statement by John Rother, President and CEO of the National Coalition on Health Care

MedPAC’s report today included four particularly promising ideas to curb health costs and improve quality.  These recommendations offer Congress an important opportunity to rein in costs for both Medicare and consumers and businesses in the private market.

Medicare’s finances are threatened by the same system-wide cost trends that plague consumers and businesses.   Confronting that threat demands policies that make our health system more affordable, and the experts and providers who sit on MedPAC offered recommendations that would move us further down that road today.  These include:

·         Reforms that would discourage unnecessary hospitalizations for patients at skilled nursing facilities;

·         A first step toward value-based benefit design in Medicare by creating a new copay structure that encourages the use of quality generics;

·         A value-based purchasing program that rewards outpatient surgical centers for providing better care to seniors and the disabled; and

·         Provider payment reforms that would repeal the SGR formula, encourage accountable care organizations and reward the primary care providers who will be crucial for lower costs and better care for seniors and the disabled.

Each of these recommendations is designed to save money by making our whole health care system less costly and more effective, rather than just shifting Medicare costs onto beneficiaries or providers. The resulting benefits would extend beyond Medicare because the higher quality and greater efficiency among providers and hospitals would reduce costs for consumers and businesses.

These MedPAC recommendations are a step in the right direction, and I urge Congress to give the proposals serious consideration.


About the National Coalition on Healthcare
The National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) is America’s oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform. Founded in 1990, NCHC is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization representing more than 80 participating organizations, medical societies, businesses, unions, health care providers, faith-based associations, pension and health funds, insurers, and groups representing consumers, patients, women, minorities, and persons with disabilities. These member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 100 million Americans.

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