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Rockefeller on MedPAC

THIS IS A PRESS RELEASE FROM THE OFFICE OF UNITED STATES SENATOR JAY ROCKEFELLER.

Washington, D.C.—Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV today introduced groundbreaking legislation that expands the role of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to determine and implement Medicare reimbursement policies.

“It’s time to move MedPAC into the executive branch and away from the influence of special interests,” said Senator Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care. “Congress has proven itself to be inefficient and inconsistent in making decisions about provider reimbursement under Medicare. If we want serious improvements in our health care delivery system, then we need to reform MedPAC’s current authority to include fully establishing and implementing Medicare reimbursement rules. Congress should leave the reimbursement rules to the independent health care experts.”

MedPAC currently exists as a legislative entity that advises Congress on Medicare payment policies. However, MedPAC has no power to implement its recommendations. Further insulating Medicare payment and coverage policies from the pressures of special interests will mean that Americans can be confident that Medicare decisions are based on the best and most objective evidence.

“Establishing MedPAC as an independent executive branch agency – which can only change through an act of Congress – is the cornerstone of improving our delivery system reform,” said Rockefeller. “Health care reform will only be successful if we craft transformative changes. By giving MedPAC independent authority to decide and implement reimbursement policies, with a formal process for seeking and considering public input, we are giving the true experts the chance to weigh in on health care.”

Background

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is an independent agency established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (P.L. 105-33) to advise the U.S. Congress on issues affecting the Medicare program.

Senator Rockefeller’s MedPAC Reform Act of 2009 will work to make Medicare payment decisions more effective and efficient, removing the arbitrary nature to ensure that Medicare beneficiaries get the right care at the right time. This legislation will revise MedPAC’s mission to:

Reform MedPAC as Executive Agency Modeled After the Federal Reserve Board;

Elevate MedPAC to be an independent, executive branch entity, like the Federal Reserve, with the power to implement recommendations that are more insulated from special interests, and more accountable to the American people;

Inform new research in health services to adequately address deficiencies in the evidence;

Test new and innovative payment models for provider reimbursement; and

Expand the capacity to evaluate basic and health services research for reimbursement.


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