On November 17, the Bipartisan Policy Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force released a report to address the growing federal debt that included a proposed $756 billion cut in national healthcare spending by 2020. The report recommended various steps to achieve this reduction in spending, including Medicare premium increases and substantial changes to Medicaid.
In the short term, the task force proposed raising Medicare Part B premiums from 25 percent to 35 percent over five years, while also using the federal program’s significant buying power in order to increase rebates from drug companies, updating benefits packages and bundling post-acute care payments. Long term, the task force proposed that in 2018 Medicare would move to a premium support system that limits growth in federal support per-beneficiary.
For the Medicaid program, the task force’s report recommended the application of managed care principles to Supplementary Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries in all states in order to rein in costs in the short term. Long term, the report recommended a one percent cut in annual per-beneficiary cost growth beginning in 2018, and proposed strategies for achieving such a goal.
Further, the task force’s report recommended a permanent fix for Medicare’s physician reimbursement system and reforms to the medical malpractice system.
The Bipartisan Policy Center is a non-profit entity that was established in 2007 by a bipartisan group of former leaders of the U.S. Senate. The Center’s Debt Reduction Task Force is made up of 19 members, including former Members of Congress, former White House officials, former Governors, economists, budget experts and leaders from the business and labor communities.