House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee Discusses Restructuring Medicare
Weighs Proposals to Combine Medicare Deductibles, Restructure Copays and Limit Medigap Insurance
On March 16, 2016, the U.S. House of Representatives Ways and Means Health Subcommittee held a hearing titled, “Preserving and Strengthening Medicare.” During the hearing, Subcommittee Chairman Pat Tiberi (R-OH-12) and others indicated potential support for a number of proposals to restructure Medicare cost sharing, including combining deductibles under Part A and Part B of Medicare, restructuring copays, and limiting Medigap insurance.
Chairman Tiberi called for “long overdue reforms to the outdated Medicare benefit” such as those put forward by the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (“Bowles-Simpson”), which recommended a uniform 20 percent copay for all Medicare services including home health and hospice. He said such reforms would result in “largely stable copayments.” Chairman Tiberi also called for “combining the deductibles under Part A and Part B of Medicare.”
The hearing included discussion about limiting Medigap insurance, and Chairman Tiberi noted that all of the witnesses appeared to support such a proposal. The witnesses included Katherine Baicker, who is a professor at Harvard School of Public Health and serves on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission; Stuart Guterman, a senior scholar at AcademyHealth; and Robert E. Moffit, a Senior Fellow at The Heritage Foundation.
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