Obama signals 'full speed ahead' for value-based payments

The Obama administration's goal to have half of all Medicare payments delivered through alternative payment models by 2018 gets top billing in a healthcare roadmap for lawmakers written by the president himself.

In “United States Health Care Reform — Progress to Date and Next Steps,” published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, President Obama details the progress made by his signature Affordable Care Act. The article also identifies healthcare areas that he believes require additional focus by policy makers over the rest of his term in office, and in the next president's administration.

Among those areas is the Department of Health and Human Services' goal to deliver half of all Medicare payments through value-based, alternative methods like accountable care organizations by 2018. Approaches from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation and the ACO program will play “central roles” in reaching the 50% goal, Obama wrote

Currently, more than 30% of all payments are tied to alternative payment models, “up from essentially none in 2010,” the article states.

Obama also encouraged Congress to act on proposals meant to address rising prescription drug costs, including allowing the government to negotiate prices for certain medications. The article also advised that lawmakers not advance legislation that goes against the Independent Payment Advisory Board, as it may “provide a valuable backstop if rapid cost growth returns to Medicare.”