November 29, 2016

REFORM, NOT REPEAL:

Have Private Medicare Plans Bid Competitvely (Yevgeniy Feyman, NOVEMBER 29, 2016, NY Times)

A series of reforms can both bring costs in line and improve care for those using Medicare.

One short-term approach is to modernize Medicare's outdated cost-sharing structure and include an annual cap on beneficiaries' out-of-pocket spending. Combined with restrictions on supplemental plans, this would save $114 billion over 10 years while reducing what the sickest Medicare beneficiaries pay for their care. Another approach would focus on building up existing experiments under the Affordable Care Act -- like bundled payments for certain hospital services -- and making successful schemes permanent.

A more long-term approach would make use of an efficient and successful program within Medicare: Medicare Advantage. Under Medicare Advantage, beneficiaries can enroll in a private plan, often paying no extra premiums. Researchers have broadly concluded that these Medicare Advantage plans tend to offer better care for beneficiaries, often at lower cost. Areas with high penetration of these plans also tend to see these benefits spill over into traditional Medicare, lowering costs and improving outcomes for other beneficiaries.

Posted by at November 29, 2016 4:26 PM

  

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