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Proposal Suggests Formation of A New Agency To Set Medicare Pay Rates

The White House has recently been circulating draft legislation that would create an executive agency for the purpose of overseeing Medicare reimbursement rates and policy changes. Under the proposal, there would be a paid five-member Independent Medicare Advisory Council whose members would serve five-year terms. They would be nominated by the president and subject to approval by the Senate. In all likelihood, the members of the council would be doctors, or other people who are highly skilled in health policy.

The members of the council would be given the authority to make broad recommendations about Medicare, but they would focus on setting appropriate payment rates for Medicare Part A and Part B. The council would give two annual recommendation reports: the one due by October 1st of each year would deal with Medicare Part A and the one due by December 31st of each year would address Part B. These recommendations would be sent to the White House for the president’s approval before being brought before Congress. This legislation, if enacted will go into effect after Obama’s first term as president on September 15, 2014.

Other proposals are also being given consideration with respect to Medicare. In particular, the Obama administration wants to give the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) the authority to determine cuts and makes other changes to Medicare.

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