Health Care Update: MedPAC Expansion: Obama moves to control Medicare costs…and with it all private insurance benefits…

Are you ready Boomers? One year ago Hillary was pushed out of the race, now Obama has decided to do the universal mandate after all (his letter to Kennedy and Baucus makes it sound like it is HIS brilliant idea to exempt the poor with subsidies, Hillary had that in there already) AND he has accepted MAC’s plan to tax health care benefits (but no sign of the 5k tax credit Mac planned to give us)….

So Baby Boomers, many of you voted for Obama, here is his plan to control health care costs, as MiM predicted he is beginning with Medicare, you pesky expensive old people

No expensive cardiac stents and multiple admissions for YOU!

..these are called in laymens terms CUTS and DENIALS OF BENEFITS, when Megyn Kelly asked Arlen Specter about the language in the stimulus setting up a comparative effectiveness panel he swore up and down it would never ever impact Americans ability to make health care decisions with their Doctors…Specter wrong again, Obama is using existing Medicare panels to cut costs, as Ezra Klein points out below, private insurers use Medicare standards to set reimbursement rates and coverage policies so this impacts all of us, and it is behind the scenes..:

Ezra Klein:

Yesterday, at a meeting between Barack Obama and Senate Democrats from the Finance and HELP committees, that line grew up and graduated into something altogether sturdier: A policy. Senate sources confirm that the president argued in favor of a genuinely major Medicare reform — a reform that could make Medicare the nation’s most important laboratory for health care reforms.

…You probably haven’t heard of MedPAC. Most people haven’t. It stands for The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and it’s an independent congressional agency formed in 1997 to advise the Congress on matters relating to Medicare. The commission is staffed by experts who are appointed for three-year terms, and its existence is due to a simple insight: Medicare payment policy is too technical for the Congress. There aren’t five senators with an informed opinion on the “equipment use standard” for imaging machines, much less 50, and much less 100.

But what if it didn’t? What if MedPAC had power?

Klein, cont.:

That’s what the White House wants. There are, I’m told, two policies under consideration. The first is a version of Senator Jay Rockefeller‘s MedPAC Reform Act. This legislation would move MedPAC into the executive branch. The commissioners would be approved by Congress and appointed for six-year terms. Beyond that, it would largely be an autonomous agency, able to set Medicare payment rates, conduct trial programs, and fund policy initiatives.

The theory is that it would act as a Federal Reserve for Medicare. “Congress has proven itself to be inefficient and inconsistent in making decisions about provider reimbursement under Medicare,” said Rockefeller. “Congress should leave the reimbursement rules to the independent health care experts.”

Yes take it out of Congress’ hands and then constituents cannot turn to them for help when their hip replacement is denied….

That’s the plan Obama spoke of favorably in yesterday’s meeting. But what hasn’t been reported is that senior administration officials are also considering another variant: This plan would package MedPAC’s yearly recommendation and fast track them through Congress for a simple, up-or-down vote. No filibuster. No changes to the package of recommendations. Health reform, under this scenario, would become a yearly legislative project.

Here is where it gets really good, or bad if you don’t want a GOVT HMO-esque panel deciding what is cost effective in treating your health:

…MedPAC, of course, is restricted to Medicare. But there’s little doubt that where Medicare leads, the health care industry follows. Private insurers frequently set their prices in relation to Medicare’s payment rates. Hospitals are sufficiently dependent on Medicare that a reform instituted by the entitlement program becomes a de facto change for the whole institution, and thus all patients. A process that empowers Medicare to aggressively and fluidly reform itself would end up dramatically changing the face of American health care in general.

June 4, 2009. Tags: , , , , , , , , . Economy, Healthcare, Obama Administration, Politics, Popular Culture, Taxes, Uncategorized.

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