When it comes to reducing or controlling rising health care costs, we face a problem called “the fierce urgency of NOW.”
We have learned from the Medicare and Medicaid budget proposals by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., that Republicans have no substantive ideas on how to address these costs beyond shifting the bill to consumers and states. We also know that Democrats embedded a lot of promising ideas to generate savings into the health law — concepts ranging from medical homes and accountable care organizations to payment bundling and value-based insurance design. But these ideas will take time before we know if and how well they work.
But time is something we don’t have.
The federal government, states, employers and consumers are all struggling under the pressure of rising health care costs. For them, solutions can’t come soon enough.
State governments are facing a “Medicaid desert” between the end this year of the stimulus package’s enhanced federal matching rate and the 2014 implementation of the health overhaul’s Medicaid expansions. Some worry the sorry choices to address the funding shortfall will come down to cutting benefits, shrinking provider payments, hiking cost sharing and shredding eligibility. Proposals to control spending within Medicare have put that program equally in peril.Continue reading…