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Think Tank Claims Medicare Proposal Would Cut Healthcare Costs Significantly

April 22, 2013
by Gabriel Perna
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The Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank which proposes policy reform legislation, has released a proposal that would lower healthcare costs and ultimately, reduce the federal deficit by $560 billion. The proposal includes a Medicare system that would allow beneficiaries to choose from three coverage options including the current fee-for-service model, a Medicare Advantage plan, or enroll in new ‘Medicare Networks’ within traditional Medicare.

The proposal, written by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle and Bill Frist, former Senate Budget Committee Chairman Pete Domenici, and former Congressional Budget Office Director, Alice Rivlin, Ph.D., would incentivize higher quality, cost-effective care through these new networks. They would also provide better coordinated-care and lower costs for beneficiaries, according to the report authors.

“All of these policies are designed to improve the quality and value of our nation's health care. That is where every health-reform effort should start. The savings that we achieved is the outgrowth of our work, not the goal,” the four wrote in an op-ed on the report to The Washington Post.  “[We] focused on reforms that will incite transformation across the health-care system, not limited to Medicare. We believe, however, that the power of Medicare can be leveraged to lead the way in transforming the U.S. health-care system.

The report, A Bipartisan Rx for Patient-Centered Care and System-Wide Cost Containment, also proposes reforms to reduce the current approach to subsidizing employer-provided health insurance. The authors promote the current coordination and accountable systems of healthcare delivery and payment. “These systems are often better able to meet patients' needs and desires and are able to effectively reimburse providers and practitioners for delivering high-quality care,” they wrote in The Post.

In addition, the authors promote the idea of prevention and wellness treatment to improve health and contain costs related to chronic illness. It also suggests incentives to states to implement “organized, value-driven healthcare delivery and payment systems.”

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