House Testimony on Medicare Physician Payment Reform

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<p>"Determining how much to pay physicians certainly is an important issue, but determining how to pay physicians so Medicare beneficiaries get the best care possible is of at least equal importance," The Commonwealth Fund's Stuart Guterman testified yesterday at a hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Subcommittee on Health.<br><br>In his <a href="/cnlib/pub/enews_clickthrough.htm?enews_item_id=23293&return_url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww%2Ecmwf%2Eorg%2Fpublications%2Fpublications%5Fshow%2Ehtm%3Fdoc%5Fid%3D385943%26%23doc385943">invited testimony</a> at the hearing, "Medicare Physician Payment: How to Build a Payment System that Provides Quality, Efficient Care for Medicare Beneficiaries</a>," Guterman explained that increasing physician spending puts more burden on Medicare beneficiaries--especially the most vulnerable ones--by raising the Part B premium and deductible. He argued for paying greater attention to what the nation receives for the money it spends, noting the marked deficiencies in quality and coordination of care throughout our health care system.<br><br>Current pay-for-performance initiatives show some promise for improving quality, Guterman said. But developing best practices that address both cost and quality will require careful thought and analysis, as well as dedicated resources. Only then, he said, can Medicare fulfill its potential to provide better care for its beneficiaries and also serve as a platform for performance improvements throughout the health system.</p>