House Committees Explore Efforts to Modernize Medicare
The House Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees on August 29, 2013 released the first paper in a series examining the flaws in the Medicare program and outlining opportunities for reform. According to a press release, the series, Modernizing Medicare for the 21st Century, will outline a bipartisan approach that “will both protect beneficiaries and reduce costs.” With these papers, the committee members are seeking “to initiate a discussion on how to protect seniors and place the Medicare program on sound financial footing.”
According to the August 29th release, the first installment of the Modernizing Medicare for the 21st Century series examines (1) the traditional Medicare cost-sharing framework and the impact current thresholds have on beneficiaries (2) the impact of supplemental coverage with low cost-sharing requirements that reduce incentives to seek cost-effective care; and (3) how modernizing the traditional cost-sharing features could better align beneficiary incentives, ensure beneficiaries greater out-of-pocket predictability and reduce overall Medicare costs.
“We can, and should, take measured, short-term steps to strengthen Medicare for America’s seniors by focusing on policies that have long-standing bipartisan support from a wide range of policymakers, health experts and economists,” the paper writes. “While dramatic enrollment growth, increased expenditures and draining resources are important contributors to the program’s solvency crisis, so too is the program’s outdated benefit structure that fails to encourage consumer involvement and often leaves beneficiaries confused and exposed to high, unlimited out-of-pocket costs… Seniors deserve a modern system that is easier to understand and that will save them money.”
Read the complete paper online here.