By Sam Baker and Elise Viebeck - 05/06/13 10:30 PM EDT
The House Ways and Means Committee's Health panel will take a fresh look Tuesday at replacing Medicare's payment system for doctors. Lawmakers from both parties are pushing for a permanent replacement sometime soon, buoyed by a steep price cut from the Congressional Budget Office.
Most stakeholders agree the current formula is broken because it calls for ever-increasing cuts in doctors' payments, and there is significant interest in moving to a system that won't pay doctors based on each service they provide. But the details of a new system — and how to pay for repealing the existing one — still need a lot of work. The Ways and Means Health subcommittee will hear from a range of medical groups Tuesday about the best options.
The hearing begins at 10 a.m.
'Medicare Essential': What if all Medicare coverage were combined with commonly purchased supplemental insurance under a single, unified benefit? That was the idea behind a new study by researchers at the Commonwealth Fund who predicted that a "Medicare Essential" plan could save $180 billion over 10 years and lower out-of-pocket costs for seniors.
Tanning risks: People using tanning beds could now face some sticker shock, as federal regulators will include stronger warnings of the potential health effects. The Food and Drug Administration announced on Monday afternoon that it would be placing stricter rules on UV lights, tanning beds and tanning booths – making them subject to agency approval.
Read all the details here.
Spending slowdown: If the current slowdown in healthcare spending persists, the government might save roughly $770 billion over the next decade, according to Harvard University Professor David Cutler. He writes in the latest issue of Health Affairs that the slowdown in health spending was caused in part by the recession, and also by slower advances in medical technology and the growth of health plans that shift more costs to consumers.
"If these trends continue during 2013–22, public-sector health care spending will be as much as $770 billion less than predicted. Such lower levels of spending would have an enormous impact on the US economy and on government and household finances," Cutler wrote.
Read his study here.
The House Ways and Means subcommittee on Health will hold a hearing on repealing Medicare's flawed physician payment formula.
The National Community Pharmacists Association will launch its 2013 legislative conference in Washington, D.C.
The College of Healthcare Information Management Executives will hold a forum on hospital readiness for Stage 2 Meaningful Use.
The Association of American Medical Colleges will host a briefing on trauma care in Rayburn House Office Building.
State by state
Capitol Hill Strategies / Principal Financial Group
Bryan Cave / Oxalosis & Hyperoxaluria Foundation
Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld / Wisconsin Medical Society
The Raben Group / Casa de Esperanza
Richard Miller / Association of Health Sciences Colleges and Universities
John T. Doolittle / VEH Solutions
Hogan Lovells US / Vical
Thorn Run Partners / Chembio Diagnostics
Atlantic Strategies Group / Sanford Burnham Medical Research Institute
MedExpert Consulting / BioCryst Pharmaceuticals
J M Burkman & Associates / Phoenix Medical and Wellness Center
Downey McGrath Group / Press Ganey Associates
Den Perrin / Checks and Balances for Economic Growth
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Doctor diagnostic errors often not mentioned but can take serious toll
CVS cancels Pharma-funded Rx reminders citing new HIPAA rule [free registration required]
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Unified Medicare benefit would save billions, study says
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