Tumblr Icon RSS Icon

13 Proposals For Reducing Health Care Spending That The Super Committee Could Consider

By Igor Volsky  

"13 Proposals For Reducing Health Care Spending That The Super Committee Could Consider"

Share:

google plus icon

Politico Pro’s David Nather offers this exhaustive menu of ideas to help the Super Committee — tasked with finding at least $1.2 trillion in spending cuts by Nov. 23 — get started. Below is my somewhat abridged version of his suggestions:

1) Crack down on Medicare fraud and abuse: As proposed by Obama’s fiscal commission, the idea is to give CMS more authority and more funding to track down fraud in Medicare payments.
What it saves: $9 billion over 10 years, according to the fiscal commission.

2) Raise the Medicare eligibility age: Gradually increases the eligibility age from 65 to 67.
What it saves: $124.8 billion over 10 years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

3) Restructure Medicare benefits: Streamlines Medicare’s maze of co-pays and deductibles and saves money by doing it. Obama’s fiscal commission recommended setting one annual deductible of $550 for Medicare hospital and doctors coverage. Seniors would have to pay 20 percent coinsurance — that is, 20 percent of the costs — for any expenses above that.
What it saves: $110 billion over 10 years, according to the fiscal commission.

4) New rules for Medigap plans: Restricts how much the Medigap plans can cover, so seniors aren’t shielded from as much of the cost-sharing charges they’d have to pay otherwise. Obama’s fiscal commission suggested banning the plans from covering the first $500 in charges. And after that, seniors would have to pay half of the next $5,000 in cost-sharing fees.
What it saves: $38 billion over 10 years, according to the fiscal commission.

5) Fix the Medicare physician payment formula: Rewrites the current Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which has an enormous backlog of payment cuts that are about to hit doctors — because Congress postpones the cuts with a temporary legislative “doc fix” every time the cuts are supposed to happen.
What it saves: Ha ha! Funny. It’s going to cost money — about $358 billion over 10 years, according to CBO.

6) Raise Medicare Part B premiums: Seniors would have to start paying 35 percent of their premium costs, rather than the current 25 percent.
What it saves: $241 billion over 10 years, according to CBO.

7) Cut hospital payments for bad debts: Gradually gets rid of the Medicare payments that reimburse hospitals for unpaid co-payments and deductibles that they haven’t been able to collect from patients.
What it saves: $14 billion to $26 billion over 10 years, according to the Biden group.

8) Nursing homes/home health cuts: Charges higher co-payments or just cuts payments to skilled nursing facilities and home health care. The Biden group was looking at this option.
What it saves: $50 billion over 10 years, according to the Biden group.

9) Premium support pilot program: Obama’s fiscal commission proposed testing the idea of “premium support” — House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s idea for reforming Medicare — by trying it out in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, which gives health coverage to federal workers. It would give these workers a subsidy for their coverage that grows slowly from year to year, saving money along the way.
What it saves: $18 billion over 10 years.

10) Medicaid block grants: Turns Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement into a block grant, with much more flexibility for states to decide what they will and won’t cover with it.
What it saves: Ryan’s version would have saved $750 billion over 10 years.

11) Medicaid “blended” matching rate: Obama’s idea for cutting Medicaid spending without restructuring the program is to change the federal matching formula. The proposal would replace a variety of different rates with a single “blended rate” for each state.
What it saves: $100 billion over 10 years, according to the target set by the Biden group.

12) Drug rebates for Medicare-Medicaid “dual eligibles”: Makes drug companies give rebates to people who are eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid — just as they already have to give rebates to people who get their drugs through Medicaid.
What it saves: $49 billion over 10 years, according to the fiscal commission.

13) Repeal the CLASS Act: Gets rid of the new long-term care insurance program created by the health reform law. It was one of the main recommendations of the Senate “Gang of Six.”
What it saves: So, funny thing — it costs $86 billion over 10 years.

Read Nather’s full report here.

Tags:

‹ Pawlenty Distorts Own Record Of Advocating Health Exchanges To Slam Obamacare

Note To GOP: Health Reform Will Help Country Avoid Hitting Debt Ceiling ›

By clicking and submitting a comment I acknowledge the ThinkProgress Privacy Policy and agree to the ThinkProgress Terms of Use. I understand that my comments are also being governed by Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, or Hotmail’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policies as applicable, which can be found here.