Some Cause for Optimism in the President’s Budget

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“While there is still plenty to argue about in the President’s proposal, the new budget does back several common-ground initiatives to curb health care costs that have been previously endorsed by key Republican lawmakers. Now the question is whether Congress can take yes for an answer and do something about the rising cost of health care.

SGR Reform and Physician Payment Reform: The President’s budget applauds last year’s bipartisan, bicameral legislation to repeal the SGR and promote new alternative payment models, and echoes calls from top Republican committee chairmen to finish the job this year.

Episodic bundling and PAC reforms:  The budget embraces episodic bundling initiatives similar to proposals advanced by Republican lawmakers that would encourage providers to deliver the right care at the most affordable cost.

Health Care Price and Quality Transparency:  The budget backs new data transparency reforms—similar to those championed by Representative Paul Ryan and Senator John Thune—that would enable consumer transparency tools to draw on Medicare’s storehouse of quality and cost data.

Sequester Relief:  The budget ends blunt-force sequestration cuts to tobacco prevention, diabetes prevention, and medical and nursing education—all programs that are vital to taming cost growth over the long-term. These cuts are replaced by hundreds of billions of savings through more targeted proposals.

The budget includes less helpful ideas as well. Administration proposals to dial up means testing and increase Medicare Part  B deductibles merely shift costs to beneficiaries. Such proposals may have some bipartisan support, but they do nothing to address the waste and inefficiency that are driving health care costs. When there are billions in real efficiencies to be found through constructive policy change, cost-shifting to seniors and the disabled is not the right way to achieve savings.

That said, we now know that SGR reform, improving value in Medicare, transparency, and sequester relief are on the to-do lists of both the Administration and key Republicans. Maybe, just maybe, that could mean a little relief from the rising burden of  health care costs is achievable this Congress.”

See full press release:


Some Cause for Optimism in the President’s Budget


February 3, 2015

Contact:   Kelly Peuquet
                 National Coalition on Health Care
                 [email protected]
                 202-638-7151, ext. 106

Some Cause for Optimism in the President’s Budget

Statement from National Coalition on Health Care President and CEO John Rother on President Barack Obama’s 2015 budget.

“Credit is due to the House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees for piloting this bill through today’s treacherous health care politics. Let’s hope yesterday’s signing of the IMPACT Act of 2014 is only the first, not the last, health policy win to emerge from bipartisan, bicameral efforts this year.

This new law will enable physicians, hospitals, and post-acute providers to better track and improve care for beneficiaries after a hospital stay by requiring providers to submit patient assessment data in a standardized format, and by developing systems of measurement for clinical quality, outcomes and resource use that can be applied across all post-acute settings. With this information, payers, providers, consumers, and family caregivers can work together to identify the best care setting for each individual. And policymakers can begin the challenging work of bringing broader reform to Medicare’s post-acute care systems.

We hope Congress will soon repeat this bipartisan, bicameral success in the areas of SGR reform, transparency, and care coordination. If they don’t, we will continue to see unchecked health costs erode the prosperity of American families and businesses.”


The National Coalition on Health Care(NCHC), the oldest and most diverse group working to achieve comprehensive health system reform, is a 501(c)(3) organization representing more than 80 participating organizations, including 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. Member organizations collectively represent – as employees, members, or congregants – over 100 million Americans.

Some members of NCHC do not, or cannot, take positions either on specific legislation, strategies or on any policies outside their respective mission areas. However, all that can, do endorse broad policy positions in support of comprehensive health system change.