Bipartisan Senate plan, like IPAB, requires Congress to tackle Medicare costs


The proposal would also:

• Require the Senate Finance Committee to "permanently reform or replace" the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula, which requires deep cuts to physician payments that get pushed back every year. The panel would be required to offset the $298 billion cost of the fix and find billions more in additional health savings while maintaining "the essential health care services that the poor and elderly rely upon;"

• Require the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee to find another $70 billion in savings;

• Reform the tax treatment of health benefits; and

• Save $26 billion by curbing fraud and abuse in entitlement programs.

The proposal also calls for the elimination of the healthcare law's long-term-care CLASS program as part of a $500 billion down payment on deficit reduction. However, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the CLASS Act actually saves the government $70 billion through 2019 because people with disabilities would have to pay in for at least five years to qualify for benefits.