Focus on Medicare Cost Drivers, Congress Told

WASHINGTON -- A congressional hearing on increasing patient cost sharing as a mechanism for Medicare reform turned into a call for broad changes to provider incentives in the program.

Health policy experts told lawmakers Tuesday that payments need to move away from a volume-based fee-for-service if policymakers want to generate savings in Medicare.

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee called the hearing to examine bipartisan proposals for Medicare reform. Specifically, they wanted to discuss increasing the Part B deductible, increasing Part B and D premiums for wealthier seniors, and establishing a copay for home health services, subcommittee chair Kevin Brady (R-Texas) said.

But experts called before the subcommittee called the proposals short-sighted and said they wouldn't do much other than cause beneficiaries to pay more.

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