What Will Become Of Traditional Medicare In The GOP Budget Plan?
How this question is answered could have big implications for the GOP's presidential and congressional candidates. Meanwhile, Politico Pro reports the plan being prepared by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R- Wis., is likely to include a reserve fund to deal with Medicare's sustainable growth rate formula.
Kaiser Health News: Can The GOP Deliver On Its Promise To Preserve Traditional Medicare?
House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan's promise to preserve traditional Medicare, which is likely to appear in his soon-to-be unveiled budget plan, could have big implications for Republican presidential and congressional candidates in November. That pledge -- to allow future beneficiaries to remain in the government-run program that allows them to choose their own doctors and pay a percentage of the costs -- was part of a proposal to overhaul Medicare that the Wisconsin Republican put forward in December with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore. (Werber Serafini, 3/8).
Politico Pro: Ryan Budget To Include SGR 'Reserve Fund'
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's upcoming budget proposal is expected to include a deficit neutral "reserve fund" to deal with Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate formula, a common fiscal measure that seldom translates into action. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), a member of the committee and a physician, told POLITICO that the House Republican budget would include the "dedicated SGR fund," but declined to go into specifics. "It will allow us an opportunity to change the funding formula," he said. Ryan's previous blueprint included a similar type of fund (DoBias, 3/8).
Politico: Medicare Cuts Hurt Smaller Providers
For Congress, the lessons are two-fold. First, there are the unintended consequences of policy decisions made without full knowledge of how they affect service providers. Second, is the heavy price all sides pay without some long-term resolution to the Medicare formula for paying physicians. Indeed, the 10-year savings will pay for only a 10-month truce before Congress has to again come up with new ways to keep physicians paid after the November elections. A permanent solution to the so-called doc fix would be simple enough if lawmakers could ever agree on a $300 billion package. But absent that, Washington resembles some Delta tenant farmer, never able to make himself whole and trapped in an endless cycle of rental payments (Rogers, 3/8).
In other Medicare-related news -
The Fiscal Times: Millions Made Off Medicare Wheelchair Scams
Suppliers of durable medical equipment like motorized wheelchairs can play a critical role in the lives of many seniors. Yet the frequency of fraud in the industry has turned its supply into Medicare’s most vilified program, subjected for two decades to repeated Congressional hearings and government reports alleging rampant overutilization, overpricing and fraud (Goozner, 3/9).