Nearly 200 healthcare economists are urging federal lawmakers to reject a premium support model for Medicare and instead “support vigorous implementation” of last year's health reform law.
In all, 193 economists—most of whom are academics at colleges and universities throughout the country—signed a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that said there are two broad strategies to Medicare expenditures, and the “right” approach can be found in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
“It emphasizes payment reforms and new ways of organizing delivery of care to slow spending growth while improving care,” it said, adding that the Congressional Budget Office projects that the reform law will slow annual growth of per-person Medicare spending over the next decade below the rate of general economic growth.
Last week, House Republicans released their fiscal 2012 budget, which proposes to transform the Medicare program to a premium-support system. That model would give patients a list of health plans from which to choose, while the Medicare program would subsidize the plan.
But in their letter to congressional leaders, the economists said the term “premium support” mislabels a voucher program, which they say will shift costs to consumers.