Liberal group unveils blueprint for second healthcare reform law

A prominent left-leaning think tank is floating a plan for "next-generation" healthcare reform to address rising costs in the United States.

Experts at the Center for American Progress (CAP) described the proposed efficiency-based market reforms as a natural continuation of the Affordable Care Act.

"The promise of healthcare reform will only truly be kept when we are reducing healthcare costs," said CAP President Neera Tanden. "Rising costs are a drag on our national budget ... and a dramatic difficulty for families and employers."

The experts said their proposal, unlike ones from House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRepublicans are avoiding gun talks as election looms The Hill's 12:30 Report Flake to try to force vote on DACA stopgap plan MORE (R-Wis.), would cut healthcare spending without requiring Medicare beneficiaries to pay more.

Healthcare costs, both private and public, are expected to rise dramatically in the coming decades as a result of medical inflation and an increasingly elderly population.

Republicans argue that premium support, in which Medicare beneficiaries would have a certain amount of money to shop for insurance, is necessary to make the program affordable in the long term.

In contrast, CAP's proposals aim to rein in U.S. healthcare spending overall, translating to savings in government health entitlements such as Medicare.

Under the group's 11-point plan, states would set specific healthcare spending targets, and private industry would negotiate payment rates to meet them.

The plan would also pull U.S. healthcare away from the dominant fee-for-service reimbursement model, which critics blame for encouraging unnecessary care.

Former Office and Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag, who collaborated with CAP on the proposal, praised it as a means for increasing healthcare quality while reducing costs.

"These ideas ... represent a promising approach to moving toward a higher-value healthcare system," he said.

In Orszag's description, the new policies would move 75 percent of all U.S. healthcare payments away from fee-for-service within 10 years.

To combat inefficiency, the plan also proposes to bar physicians from referring patients to facilities in which they have a financial interest. It would also publicize the cost of medical procedures, allowing consumers to shop more effectively.

Ezekiel Emanuel, a former White House adviser on healthcare, said the policies would "let the market work its magic."

"Prices should be available and posted on the Web," he said. "We're calling for full price and quality transparency across the board."

CAP did not release estimates of how much the proposals would lower U.S. health spending.

But one panelist, former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), called it superior to the Ryan budget, which he said would "exacerbate the cost problem" overall.