While the latest Medicare Trustees report showed slightly improved projections, the long-term challenges of health care cost growth and population aging remain unresolved. Fortunately, some policymakers in Congress remain committed to slowing the growing spending in Medicare and bending the health care cost curve.
The recent slowdown of health care spending growth is one of the more positive developments in the budget over the past few years. Despite the slowdown, Doug Holtz-Eakin, former CBO director and current president of the American Action Forum, writes in The Hill that Medicare is still in need of reform to slow its cost growth.
Earlier this week, we discussed the new Medicare Trustees projections which project that the Hospital Insurance (HI, or Part A) trust fund will be exhausted by 2026. In our analysis, we highlighted the alternative projections that incorporate several policy changes that lawmakers may make to current law in light have the impact they have on providers and beneficiaries.
At 11 AM Eastern time, the Social Security and Medicare trustees will release their respective reports on the finances of the two programs over the next 75 years. The release will be done at a press conference with Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Acting Labor Secretary Seth Harris, and public trustees Charles Blahous and Robert Reischauer. You can watch the webcast of the press conference here.
Today, the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a small step in the process to replace the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula -- Medicare's physician payment "system" -- with a more stable and efficient alternative by issuing draft legislation. Passed in 1997, the SGR formula is a backstop for Medicare spending which adjusts physician payments based on whether the program meets certain spending targets.
Although it may be difficult to get an updated comprehensive score of the Affordable Care Act from CBO, CBO has updated its estimate of the coverage provisions of the Affordable Care Act with each new baseline. This baseline is no exception.
This week, Senator Orin Hatch (R-UT), Ranking Member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Rep.