Rockefeller: Give MedPAC more power

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The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, the agency that advises Congress on Medicare reimbursement issues, should have the authority to implement its own decisions, suggested Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-WV) late last week.

Rockefeller's says his rationale stems from the pressure many lawmakers face from the healthcare industry when facing decisions on healthcare policy. Rockefeller criticized the process as not American medicine the way it should be, according to a CongressDaily report. Rockefeller's suggestion, however, has ruffled feathers at the Government Accountability Office. That agency's managing director of healthcare has pointed out that it is the GAO that appoints MedPAC members.

MedPAC recently went before Congress and recommended a freeze in reimbursement rates for skilled nursing facilities--as it has in each of its reports in recent memory. Congress has essentially ignored each of those recommendations.

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