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  • Issue Brief posted November 20, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Medicare’s SGR: Fixing It the Right Way, Not in a Lame Duck Session

    Congress needs to junk the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment. Under the formula, if Medicare physicians’ payments in any given year increase by more than the economy’s growth, an automatic and proportionate reduction in their reimbursements is imposed the following year. Conceptually flawed and practically draconian, the formula…

  • Commentary posted November 10, 2014 by Nina Owcharenko, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Lame duck legislators ought not act on complex health policy issues

    A lame-duck Congress typically is driven by a desire to "get things done." But lawmakers should resist ramming last-minute deals on Medicare physician payments and the Children's Health Insurance Program through this Congress. These are complex and highly consequential health policy issues. They deserve prudent deliberation by the people's chosen representatives, i.e.,…

  • Commentary posted November 4, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Can Congress Find a Cure for Medicare's Growing Troubles?

    Medicare: an entitlement program “too big to fail.” With the challenges the program faces—some of which are thanks to Obamacare—the new Congress will have a big challenge to overcome. It’s an entitlement program “too big to fail.” Medicare now covers 52 million seniors and disabled citizens. That’s why you can expect the seemingly unending debate on Medicare to resume…

  • Backgrounder posted October 30, 2014 by Edmund F. Haislmaier, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Nina Owcharenko, Alyene Senger A Fresh Start for Health Care Reform

    Despite President Barack Obama’s insistence that the national health care debate is over, and that he will not “re-litigate” the misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the practical concerns, aggravated by implementation glitches and policy failures, guarantee that the debate over the PPACA is far from over.[1] In the next phase of the health care…

  • Commentary posted October 10, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Obamacare: Nothing Short of a Disaster

    On November 15, open enrollment in the Obamacare exchanges begins again. Before the second act of our national healthcare drama commences, let’s review what we’ve learned in Act I. For starters, everyone now knows that federal officials are challenged when it comes to setting up a website. But they’ve demonstrated the ability to dole out a huge amount of taxpayers’…

  • Backgrounder posted September 4, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Alyene Senger Progress in Medicare Advantage: Key Lessons for Medicare Reform

    Medicare Advantage (MA) is a program of competing private health plans. For the vast majority of senior citizens, it is the only viable alternative to enrollment in traditional Medicare. For Members of Congress, its record also provides valuable lessons for comprehensive Medicare reform. MA is an increasingly attractive option for millions of senior and disabled…

  • Issue Brief posted August 1, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Alyene Senger The 2014 Medicare Trustees Report: A Dire Future for Seniors and Taxpayers Without Reform

    The recently released annual Medicare trustees report reiterates a decades-old message: The Medicare program faces an unsustainable financial future. Unless the program is reformed, it will impose a huge financial burden on American taxpayers and jeopardize access to care for seniors. While these facts are incontrovertible, the Obama Administration’s allies and some in…

  • Backgrounder posted April 28, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Four Years of Obamacare: Early Warnings Come True

    But we have to pass the bill, so you can find out what is in it, away from the fog of controversy.    —Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, March 9, 2010 It is not our job to protect the people from the consequences of their political choices.    —Chief Justice John Roberts, National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, June 28,…

  • Commentary posted March 21, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Three Better Bipartisan Health Policies To Pay For Repealing Medicare’s SGR

    After months of House and Senate negotiations on legislation to replace the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for updating Medicare physician payment, members of Congress are relieved to finally have an agreement. It is perfectly understandable that they, as well as professional medical organizations, want to act quickly. The danger is that even normally…

  • Issue Brief posted March 14, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Medicare SGR Replacement Is Not Worth More Deficit Spending

    Congress is considering compromise legislation (H.R. 4015 and S. 2000) to repeal and replace the unworkable Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for updating physician payments. Since 2003, Congress has prevented its own 1997 formula from going into effect because the Medicare physician payment cuts, often draconian, would threaten seniors’ access to medical…

  • Issue Brief posted March 11, 2014 by Alyene Senger, Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Proposed Rules for Part D Would Create Undue Disruption for Seniors

    The Obama Administration’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that it will not finalize controversial elements of its proposed Medicare rule. The proposed rule would have undercut patient choice and reduced the competition that controls costs in the Medicare drug program (Part D).[1] Many key stakeholders and Members of Congress expressed…

  • Backgrounder posted February 3, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D., Rea S. Hederman, Jr. CBO Confirms: Medicare Premium Support Means Savings for Taxpayers and Seniors

    A major report by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) confirms that Medicare premium support (a defined-contribution system of health-plan financing) would make the financially troubled federal program more fiscally sustainable.[1] The CBO finds that, in a new competitive system of health plans, private plans can offer the same benefit and services as traditional…

  • Issue Brief posted January 24, 2014 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Replacing the Medicare SGR: Getting the Policy and the Financing Right

    This year, Medicare physicians face a 24 percent pay cut. The reason: Congress updates Medicare doctors’ payments by a formula called the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). While complex, the SGR formula attempts to limit the growth in Medicare physician payment to growth in gross domestic product (GDP). If physician payments are less than GDP growth in any given year, then…

  • Commentary posted December 6, 2013 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. Will Obamacare Kill Medicare?

    The national media have paid a great deal of attention to the deeply troubled rollout of Obamacare. Enrollment and insurance coverage problems—aggravated by the bumps and glitches at the Healthcare.gov website—have dominated headlines for weeks. But another front in the national healthcare war is opening up with little media fanfare: Disruption of care in the financially…

  • Commentary posted November 22, 2013 by Robert E. Moffit, Ph.D. The Real Cost of Obamacare

    Everything is “on track.” Over the course of three and a half years, that’s what Obama administration officials repeatedly told Congress. On October 1, the day the administration opened its website, only six living, breathing human beings enrolled in Obamacare. It turned out that the predictable little “bumps and glitches” were instead wholesale information-system…