“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: https://www.nchc.org/some-cause-for-optimism-in-the-presidents-budget/