Forbes, October 4, 2019 |
In a major health care speech in Florida on October 3, President Trump outlined plans to bring Medicare into the 21 century.
This is the best answer so far to Medicare for All by showing the clear contrast between bills that would put all Americans onto one centrally-run government program and efforts to modernize the existing Medicare program.
The president signed an executive order that directs the administration to make many changes to give seniors more choices, including reducing barriers to access to Medicare Medical Savings Accounts, and encouraging innovative benefit structures in Medicare Advantage plan and in supplemental benefits.
The president wants to bring competition and market pricing into the program by modifying Medicare fee-for-service payments to more closely reflect the prices paid for services in MA and the commercial insurance market to improve access to providers and encourage more robust price competition.
The Medicare executive order comes on the heels of success during in creating new rules that give employers more flexibility in how they offer health benefits, give consumers more choices of more affordable health coverage, and give small groups the ability to form association health plans, detailed in Blase’s earlier paper on “Health Reform Progress.”
Yesterday’s Medicare executive order directs the administration to find ways to, among many other things:
- eliminate burdensome regulatory billing requirements and ensure appropriate reimbursement to allow doctors to spend more time with patients
- streamline the approval, coverage, and coding process so that innovative products and new medicines are brought to market faster, including breakthrough medical devices and advances in telemedicine
- remove unnecessary barriers to private contracts that allow Medicare beneficiaries to obtain the care of their choice and
- facilitate the development of market-driven prices.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has considerable flexibility in running the Medicare program, but some provisions are “subject to the availability of appropriations.” Either way, this event and EO create a clear contrast between government-run and patient-centered reform proposals.