In recent weeks, we’ve heard a lot of talk about the fiscal cliff, but little of it has focused on one piece that has caused headaches for lawmakers for almost a decade – the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. In January, the SGR formula calls for an unrealistic 27 percent cut to Medicare provider payments if Congress does not act to prevent them from going into effect. We’ve discussed before how the SGR is a flawed formula and that any “doc fix” enacted by Congress should be paid for in full.
Last week, a letter from six organizations--the AARP, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American College of Physicians, the American Geriatrics Society, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, and the Medicare Rights Center--urged Congress to override the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that is set to cut Medicare physician payments by 27 percent starting January 1.
In light of our nation’s fiscal challenges, the National Coalition on Health Care (NCHC) has put together a report of policy options to address the long-term challenge posed by rising health care costs. The policy package, released yesterday, proposes 50 recommendations to reduce federal health care spending in the ten-year federal budget window, while building a sustainable and affordable health care system in the long-term.
The Urban Institute's Eugene Steuerle and Caleb Quakenbush have updated their estimates calculating lifetime Social Security and Medicare benefits and taxes. In order to compare contributions to benefits received, they assume that the contributions have a rate of return (discount rate) of inflation plus two percent.
When we talk about policy uncertainty these days, most of the time we are referring to the fiscal cliff.
This morning, the National Coalition on Health Care held a forum in the Rayburn House Office Building entitled “Innovations in Health Care Delivery and Benefits: Real World Solutions.” The forum highlighted three success stories in improving quality and lowering costs in the delivery of health care. In policy discussions held in Washington around reforming federal health spending, real world successes and examples are often left out of the conversation.
One of the criticisms of raising the retirement age is the belief that older workers delaying retirement may "crowd out" younger workers and cause higher youth unemployment. This theory, also known as the "lump of labor theory," is challenged in a new paper by Alicia Munnell and April Wu of the Center for Retirement Research at Boston College.
We did our best to live fact-check the first presidential debate on Twitter, laying out the facts on fiscal issues. Of course, time constraints and the 140-character limit prevented us from getting to all the issues or explaining them all in full. Here's what we missed or want to clarify:
In the fourth and final event in the series Strengthening of America, "The Imperative of Entitlement and Health Care Cost Growth," former Members of Congress joined budget and health experts to discuss entitlement reform and controlling federal health care costs. As we've explained many times before, health care cost growth projections far exceed growth in all other areas of federal spending.
A column in The Wall Street Journal today asks "Should the Eligibility Age for Medicare Be Raised?" Taking the "yes" side is CRFB president Maya MacGuineas, arguing it is a fair and effective way to lower Medicare spending. MacGuineas says that because life expectancy at age 65 has increased significantly since Medicare was first enacted, the eligibility age should reflect this increase.