BNA’s Health Care Daily Report™ sets the standard for reliable, high-intensity coverage of breaking health care news, covering all major legal, policy, industry, and consumer developments in a...
March 16 — Medicare's fee-for-service program should be reformed to more closely resemble the Medicare Advantage program, the leader of an influential House panel said March 16.
The traditional fee-for-service program is on a trajectory of higher costs and little innovation, while the Medicare Advantage program is based on market principles, House Ways and Means Health subcommittee chairman Pat Tiberi (R-Ohio) said at a hearing on preserving and strengthening Medicare.
There is a substantial body of evidence suggesting that Medicare Advantage enrollees have lower utilization than enrollees in the traditional program, Katherine Baicker, a Harvard University health economics professor, testified.
Medicare Advantage plans are private managed care organizations that contract with the federal government to coordinate care for Medicare beneficiaries who choose to enroll.
Another witness, Robert Moffit, a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, suggested other reforms to strengthen the program, such as increasing the Medicare's eligibility age or requiring higher-income beneficiaries to pay more in premiums.
However, these ideas—and other proposals offered by the Republican side—would end Medicare as it is known, Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.), the subcommittee's ranking member, said.
McDermott also chastised Republicans for failing to offer any new proposal to bolster Medicare's integrity.
Likewise, Rep. Michael Thompson (D-Calif.) urged the subcommittee's leadership to consider novel approaches to reducing program costs. In studying Medicare, “I really think there's an opportunity to really drill down” to enhance the program into one seniors really like, he said.
For example, instead of rehashing old proposals, the subcommittee should explore the expansion of Medicare's telehealth benefit, Thompson said. He said several House lawmakers have introduced bills to expand telehealth.
Expanding telehealth would benefit the Medicare program because it saves lives and decreases costs, Thompson said. Moreover, expanding the service enjoys bipartisan support, he said.
Statutory and regulatory constraints on Medicare reimbursement have long deterred advancement and adoption of telehealth by providers. However, efforts to expand Medicare reimbursement for telehealth and remote patient monitoring services have failed in the past partly because the Congressional Budget Office has reported they would result in higher spending by improving enrollees' access to health-care services .
The March 16 meeting marks the first time Tiberi has led a health subcommittee hearing since assuming the chairmanship. Prior to Tiberi being named the health subcommittee's chairman, Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas) led the panel. Brady is now the chairman of the full Ways and Means Committee .
To contact the reporter on this story: Michael D. Williamson in Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Brent Bierman at email@example.com
Details about the hearing are at http://src.bna.com/dmg.
All Bloomberg BNA treatises are available on standing order, which ensures you will always receive the most current edition of the book or supplement of the title you have ordered from Bloomberg BNA’s book division. As soon as a new supplement or edition is published (usually annually) for a title you’ve previously purchased and requested to be placed on standing order, we’ll ship it to you to review for 30 days without any obligation. During this period, you can either (a) honor the invoice and receive a 5% discount (in addition to any other discounts you may qualify for) off the then-current price of the update, plus shipping and handling or (b) return the book(s), in which case, your invoice will be cancelled upon receipt of the book(s). Call us for a prepaid UPS label for your return. It’s as simple and easy as that. Most importantly, standing orders mean you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you’re relying on. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.960.1220 or by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Put me on standing order at a 5% discount off list price of all future updates, in addition to any other discounts I may quality for. (Returnable within 30 days.)
Notify me when updates are available (No standing order will be created).
This Bloomberg BNA report is available on standing order, which ensures you will all receive the latest edition. This report is updated annually and we will send you the latest edition once it has been published. By signing up for standing order you will never have to worry about the timeliness of the information you need. And, you may discontinue standing orders at any time by contacting us at 1.800.372.1033, option 5, or by sending us an email to email@example.com.
Put me on standing order
Notify me when new releases are available (no standing order will be created)