Bipartisan group issues health reform recommendations

Bipartisan Recommendations Can Strengthen Health System
Bipartisan Recommendations Can Strengthen Health System

HealthDay News -- Leaders of the Bipartisan Policy Center Health Care Cost Containment Initiative have developed a series of recommendations to strengthen the U.S. healthcare system, according to a sounding board piece published online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Members of the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., including democrat Tom Daschle and republican Bill Frist, MD, have developed a comprehensive set of recommendations to improve quality, reduce waste and control costs in an effort to strengthen the U.S. health care system.

"If enacted, our policies would reduce the federal deficit by an estimated $560 billion over the next 10 years, including nearly $300 billion in Medicare savings, which includes the cost of a permanent fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician payments and the cost of increased assistance to low-income beneficiaries," the authors wrote

They provided several key recommendations related to four areas of the health care system: improving and enhancing Medicare; reforming tax policy; prioritizing healthcare quality, prevention and wellness; and encouraging and empowering states.

First, Medicare should be improved and enhanced by promoting quality and value through Medicare Networks, an improved version of accountable care organizations. In addition, a standardized minimum benefit should be established for Medicare Advantage plans, and protection should be provided against catastrophic costs.

Second, tax policy should be reformed to encourage efficiency and competition by replacing the "Cadillac tax" on high-cost health insurance plans and providing guidance for private-sector entities seeking to form integrated, coordinated care delivery systems.

Third, quality, prevention and wellness should be prioritized, with adoption of effective quality metrics encouraged and a focus toward prevention as a means for improving health and containing cost.

Fourth, adoption of a streamlined and coordinated strategy to deliver services to those with dual eligibility is suggested as one way to empower and encourage states to improve care and contain costs.

"We believe that the vision and recommendations articulated in our bipartisan report, if enacted together, would help to put our national health care system, as well as our economic outlook, on a more sustainable, healthful path for the future," the authors wrote.


References

  1. Daschle T et al. N Engl J Med. 2013; doi: 10.1056/NEJMsb1306639.
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