MedPAC needs a new role, Rockefeller says

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Sen. Jay D. Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen. Jay D. Rockefeller (D-WV)
Sen. John Rockefeller IV (D-WV), chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health, continues to advocate for a stronger role for the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). He framed Medicare as the “800-pound gorilla” of healthcare reform.

“We need to take the bold but relatively simple step of elevating the already well-respected Medicare Payment Advisory Commission,” the senator wrote in an opinion piece for Politico.com.

Rockefeller suggested that the best way to rein in healthcare costs is to turn over control of Medicare payment rates, currently controlled by Congress, to an independent panel in the executive branch of government.

By giving that authority to MedPAC, Rockefeller says the “special interests” that influence Congress will have no say in payment rates and Medicare costs can be more effectively contained.

Under Rockefeller's proposal, Congress would still have final say over Medicare, barring a constitutional amendment, he said.