Legislation (S. 1110) introduced on May 27, 2009, by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) would move the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to the executive branch and provide the agency with the authority to independently decide and implement Medicare reimbursement policy. An independent congressional agency established by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, MedPAC currently advises Congress on payment, quality and access issues affecting the Medicare program but has no power or authority to implement its recommendations. The proposed legislation would reform MedPAC's authority in establishing and implementing Medicare payment policy.
Discussions regarding MedPAC also are surfacing with respect to healthcare reform. In a recent letter outlining his priorities for reform to Sens. Kennedy and Baucus, President Obama stated the following: "To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress. Under this approach, MedPAC's recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is a similar process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way."