Senators say Medicare, Medicaid changes could help pay for healthcare reform

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To pay for healthcare reform, lawmakers must consider a number of different options. Sens. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Charles Grassley (R-IA) on Monday released a 41-page outline of financing options, which include possible changes to Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement policy.

Members of the Senate Finance Committee will meet today to discuss the possible policy options. Besides a number of tax adjustments and service re-evaluations, Baucus and Grassley put forward possible Medicare and Medicaid changes in their proposal outline. One possibility involves implementing a Medicare Payment Advisory Committee proposal to review Medicare Parts A and B spending and adjust reimbursement for regional variations in cost of care to more closely reflect a national median price. Another possibility is to adjust the payment formula for home healthcare services.

None of the proposals put forth in the paper are openly endorsed by either senator, but rather present various options available to lawmakers. The paper is the last in a series of healthcare reform policy option papers released by the two senators, and is available online at http://www.finance.senate.gov/sitepages/leg/LEG%202009/051809%20Health%20Care%20Description%20of%20Policy%20Options.pdf.