Uncle Max's Musings on Politics and Culture

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Does Health Reform Do Anything About Costs? December 7, 2009

Filed under: Healthcare Reform — Larry E. Stuckey II @ 5:29 am

See this article for the latest about what Obama is doing to push the healthcare legislation

Also, as many of you know, I have criticized the legislation for not doing enough with costs.  However, this article made me realize a few items about the legislation that I had not read.  This article is a great read about how the current legislation could curtail costs.  Here are a few key points:

 – The Senate bill “maintains the two powerful institutions the Finance legislation proposed to promote these reforms and develop new ones. The one that’s attracted the most attention is an independent “Medicare Advisory Board.” Under the Senate bill, that board would be required to offer cost-saving proposals when Medicare spending rises too fast; Congress could not reject its proposals without substituting equivalent savings. Since the board would be prohibited from offering changes that raise taxes or “ration care,” and since the legislation initially exempts hospitals from its recommendations, it could choose to promote the sort of payment reforms the bill establishes. (More prosaically it might also clear away some of the expensive coverage mandates that Congress imposes on Medicare under pressure from different elements of the medical industry).

 – The bill also creates “a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in the Health and Human Services Department. Though this center has received much less attention than the Medicare Commission, it could have a comparable effect. It would receive $1 billion annually to test payment reforms; in a little known provision, the bill authorizes the HHS Secretary to implement nationwide, without any congressional action, any reform that department actuaries certify will reduce long-term spending. While the House bill omitted the Medicare Commission (a top priority for Obama) it included the innovation center.”

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