Posts Tagged ‘National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform’

Deficit Reduction Commission Recommendations Will Hurt

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Medicare takes a hit from Deficit Reduction Committee proposals.  The bipartisan National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform will ask the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to create a new physician reimbursement system, increase Medicare cost sharing and create far-reaching medical malpractice liability reforms to cap non-economic and punitive damages.

The 50-page proposal supports cutting compensation for physicians and other healthcare providers.  At the same time, quality would be rewarded by speeding up payment reforms, increasing drug rebates and expanding Medicare cost sharing to promote healthcare choice and spending by consumers.  The commission wants to slow down federal health spending growth to match the GDP plus one percent after 2020 by “establishing a process to regularly evaluate cost growth and take additional steps as needed if projected savings do not materialize.”

The commission — chaired by Erskine Bowles, who served as chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and former Senator Alan Simpson (R-WY) — also proposed achieving healthcare savings by increasing accountable care organizations; bundling payments; slashing Medicare payments for bad debt; and reducing government funding for medical education, among other recommendations.  The likelihood of any of these recommendations being implemented is questionable as the proposal requires support from 14 of the commission’s 18 members to start a debate in Congress.

President Obama is taking a wait-and-see attitude.  “Before anybody starts shooting down proposals, I think we need to listen, we need to gather up all the facts,” he said. If people are, in fact, concerned about spending, debt, deficits and the future of our country, then they’re going to need to be armed with the information about the kinds of choices that are going to be involved, and we can’t just engage in political rhetoric.”  Obama said he will await the commission’s December 1 formal report before commenting further.

“The Big Dog” Challenges Healthcare Insurers to Rein in Costs

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Bill Clinton tells health insurers they need to make coverage more affordable.  Former President Bill Clinton warned the healthcare insurance industry that they need to move towards being an “in the future business” rather than holding on to obsolete, unsound business models.  In a recent keynote speech to America’s Health Insurance Plans’ annual conference, Clinton told the insurers’ trade group that he respected their support for healthcare reform.  He cautioned, however, that there is still work to be done.

“We now have to go after the cost in a way that improves the quality,” Clinton said.  “You did your part but it’s all gong to be for nothing unless we bring down the cost of healthcare.”  Clinton called on Congress to enact an amendment to the new healthcare law that specifically establishes a bipartisan commission whose goal is to determine the best practices in healthcare.  Clinton suggested that the panel be patterned after the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which President Barack Obama created in February.  Its goal would be to devise solutions that rein in costs and improve the quality of care.  According to Clinton, the commission would ideally meet between its creation and 2014, when most of the reforms become effective.

“I don’t really care who’s at fault,” Clinton concluded.  “We need to figure out how to fix this healthcare thing.”