Hospitals Are Still Lobbying Super Committee To Raise Medicare Age

The hospital industry is “ramping up its lobbying to convince the debt law’s super committee to shy away from Medicare and Medicaid payment cuts, urging its members to ask the panel to embrace alternatives such as medical liability reform, a hike in the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67, limits on brand-name drug companies from entering ‘pay for delay’ agreements and a revamp of cost sharing for Medicare Parts A and B,” Inside Health Policy’s Rachana Dixit reports. The industry — which stands to profit from some of these Medicare changes — sent out an “alert” on Friday offering lawmakers a menu of alternatives to cutting reimbursement rates to hospitals, including: “impose an excise tax on employment-based health care coverage above certain limits beginning in 2014 instead of 2018; establish a single combined deductible for Part A and Part B along with a 20 percent co-insurance; increase the basic Part B premium from 25 percent to 35 percent; impose a copay for each of the first 20 days of care in a skilled-nursing facility equal to 5 percent of the inpatient deductible; impose a federal excise tax of 3 cents per 12 ounces of ‘sugar-sweetened’ beverage; and place dual eligibles into Medicaid managed care.”