MedPAC recommends ways to keep neutrality in drug benefit program

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission said beneficiaries should have a choice to join private plans for the Medicare prescription drug benefit, but it also believes there should be financial neutrality between private plans and fee-for-service Medicare, the commission said in an annual report released this week.

MedPAC offers ways to maintain neutrality between private plans and FFS Medicare in its report, "Report to the Congress: Issues in a modernized Medicare program." These include: collecting quality measures for the FFS program that would enable comparison with the Medicare advantage program.

Other suggestions include: eliminating the preferred provider organization stabilization fund and clarifying that regional plans should submit bids that are standardized for the region's Medicare advantage-eligible population.

The whole report is available at: http://www.medpac.gov/publications/congressional_reports/June05_Entire_report.pdf.