Healthcare leaders propose Medicare savings for supercommittee

The Congressional "supercommittee" tasked with cutting the federal deficit may be given recommendations that would transform many of the duties performed by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), reports Healthcare Payer News.

Among the recommendations made during an Oct. 19 meeting sponsored by Health Affairs, the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, the California HealthCare Foundation, and the Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making include:

• Have CMS pay the lowest price for functionally equivalent medications rather than more expensive brand-name medications
• Discourage routine unnecessary services
• Encourage more shared decision-making between physicians and patients, particularly regarding end-of-life issues

"Providers like Medicare because they don't ask questions and pay on time," said Robert Berenson, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and vice chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. As an example, he cited claims research showing that the agency approved pricey implantable defibrillators at a rate 20 percent higher than the private sector.

For more:
- read the Healthcare Payer News article
- check out the conference agenda