Tough Road Ahead for Medicare Payment Board and Cost-cutting Efforts

Wednesday, January 26th, 2011 - 8:26
Wednesday, January 26, 2011 - 08:04
One of the few cost-cutting provisions in the health reform law has also become one of the main targets for repeal or defunding as implementation of the law moves forward. The Independent Payment Advisory Board is tasked with recommending cuts, starting in 2015, to Medicare spending, which must be adopted or matched in amount by Congress.

The "Doc Fix" Passes the Senate; Federal Regulators Ramping up on Health Care Rules

Thursday, December 9th, 2010 - 8:44
Thursday, December 9, 2010 - 08:26
The Senate, bolstered by support from the Obama administration, has approved another temporary "doc fix" to keep Medicare reimbursement rates from increasing 25 percent for another year, Politico reports. Lawmakers tapped into money set aside for health insurance subsidies under health reform to find the $19 billion required for the "doc fix."

Tentative Medicare Doc Fix Deal Dips into Health Reform Subsidies

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010 - 11:09
Tuesday, December 7, 2010 - 10:45
Politico reports that Senate leaders have reached a "tentative" deal on a Medicare "doc fix" to delay a scheduled reduction in Medicare payments to physicians for one year. Staunch supporters of health reform may view the deal as robbing Peter to pay Paul, however.

How Do You Find A Trillion Dollars?

Monday, October 25th, 2010 - 7:28
Monday, October 25, 2010 - 08:24
Let’s put that savings number in perspective.  The Federal Government spends about $4 trillion every year.  To save $1 trillion over ten years, the Federal government needs to reduce its spending by $100 billion each year, which is 2.5 percent percent of its total spending.  That does not strike us a particularly high hurdle to jump.

Proposals to Address the Deficit

Monday, October 18th, 2010 - 0:22
Friday, October 15, 2010 - 08:18
CBO’s estimates suggest that the government is running a structural deficit of between $500-700 billion each year.  The International Monetary Fund estimates that the annual structural deficit may even reach $1 trillion by 2015 under current policies.  The scale of this fiscal challenge is historically unprecedented. 

The Medicare Report: Are the "Caveats" More Than Caveats?

Monday, August 9th, 2010 - 15:32
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 15:57
Austin Frakt has an interesting commentary today ( in the Kaiser Health News report that asks whether health care cost cutting solutions are more likely to come from the private sector than the government that ushered in health reform.

Obama Tries to Reach Out to Seniors to Cut Through Clutter on Medicare Changes

Monday, August 9th, 2010 - 11:37
Monday, August 9, 2010 - 11:52
We've written several times on this blog about how senior citizens are less supportive -- and more confused -- about health reform than any other demographic. This was recently demonstrated by a poll of senior citizens by the National Council on Aging.

Administration: Health Reform to Save $575 Billion in Medicare Spending Over 10 Years

Monday, August 2nd, 2010 - 14:04
Monday, August 2, 2010 - 14:11
An Obama administration report ( released today highlights the savings expected from several of the key cost-cutting plans in Medicare in what could be viewed as a status quo -- or perhaps optimistic -- view of the next decade under health reform. If everything goes according to plan, the report finds, $575 billion will be saved in the Medicare program over the next 10 years.

Do We Have a "Disease Industry" Instead of a Health Care System?

Saturday, July 31st, 2010 - 11:16
Saturday, July 31, 2010 - 11:41
Stephen Schimpff, the retired CEO of the University of Maryland Medical Center, writes in an interesting blog post that we will never gain control of rising health costs unless our system changes from one that reacts to diseases to one that focuses on health and prevention. He calls this a "disease industry" instead of a health care system. Read his post here: The post reiterates a familiar theme that the health care system is driven by payments for a greater and greater number of procedures. Schimpff has two proposals to stem the tide:

Orszag's Departure Reignites Controversy Over Health Reform's Medicare Cost Cutting Panel

Thursday, July 29th, 2010 - 14:05
Thursday, July 29, 2010 - 14:27
Today's Kaiser Health news report ( summarizes articles about the departure of Peter Orszag as head of the Office of Management and Budget and a new effort by Republicans to repeal an independent Medicare cost-cutting panel that became a part of health reform.