Bucshon leads bipartisan request for feedback on Medicare payments


U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN) led a bipartisan contingent of his colleagues in in search of feedback that would help Congress improve the nation’s Medicare financing system and further transition toward value-based care.

“Ultimately, with a purpose to keep our patients protected and our workforce strong, we’d like a payment solution that’s consistent, and that pays for health outcomes. That’s how we keep our communities healthy,” wrote Rep. Bucshon and the lawmakers in a Sept. 8 letter. “We’re soliciting feedback for a comprehensive solution that may bring our healthcare system into the twenty first Century.”

Specifically, the members seek feedback from healthcare providers, advocacy organizations, health economists, health finance experts, and others on actions Congress should take to stabilize the Medicare payment system, without dramatic increases in Medicare spending, while ensuring successful value-based care incentives are in place, in accordance with their letter. 

Among the many seven other members who joined Rep. Bucshon in signing the letter were U.S. Reps. Michael Burgess (R-TX), Brad Wenstrup (R-OH), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Ami Bera (D-CA).

“Despite spending significantly more on health care than other industrialized countries, the US continues to face poorer health outcomes and is experiencing a critical shortage of healthcare providers. A contributing factor is our Medicare payment system, which has failed to take care of levels of provider reimbursement that adequately incentivize high-quality care,” they wrote. “As we seek to further the transition toward value-based care, Congress should consider systemic reforms to our healthcare financing.”

The issue, lawmakers noted, is the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) law, which shifted Medicare’s approach to physician payment by paying providers based on quality, value, and the outcomes of care delivered moderately than on the variety of services provided.

“Unfortunately, logistical challenges have plagued MACRA almost since its inception,” Rep. Bucshon and his colleagues wrote. “MACRA was intended to support a healthcare system with greater value to each patients and providers, nevertheless it has change into evident that further reforms are crucial.”

The lawmakers seek responses by Oct. 31 that address items reminiscent of the effectiveness of MACRA, in addition to regulatory, statutory, and implementation barriers that might be addressed for MACRA to satisfy its purpose of accelerating value within the U.S. healthcare system, amongst others.

“Together, we’re committed to working toward a cheaper, sustainable, and patient-centered healthcare system,” they wrote. 

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