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Republicans On Senate Finance Committee Offer Bipartisan Health Care Savings

The Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee released their recommendations to the super committee on Friday, calling for a likely increase in the Medicare eligibility age, block granting the Medicaid program and repealing the Affordable Care Act. Those are the parts of the plan that Democrats won’t agree to, but the rest of the effort does bear some hope for bipartisan compromise and has been included in President Obama’s deficit plan and the bipartisan fiscal commission report :

– Evaluating the impact of supplemental coverage -> Obama’s deficit plan proposes a Part B premium surcharge for new beneficiaries that purchase near first-dollar Medigap coverage.

Establishing a uniform deductible covering Medicare Part A and Medicare Part B services -> Fiscal commission recommended establishing a single combined annual deductible of $550 for Medicare Part A (hospital) and Part B (medical care)

– The Senators recommend the evaluation of the Medicare Part B costsharing threshold -> Obama’s deficit plan proposes increasing income-related premiums under Medicare Parts B and D

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Partner with the federal government in providing more coordinated care for beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid -> Fiscal Commission recommended placing dual eligibles in Medicaid managed care

Realigning provider payments and evaluating existing cost-sharing structures for post-acute services -> Obama’s deficit plan includes provisions to encourage efficient post-acute care and realigns provider payments to help rural providers

The devil, as always, is in the details (and the CBO score), but the policy in the bullet points above can provide at least a starting point for reaching some sensible health care savings in next month’s deficit reduction package.