Obama Proposes Giving Medicare Panel Recomendations Force of Law « The Washington Independent
Here’s another fascinating tidbit from yesterday’s health reform message from the White House to Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Max Baucus (D-Mont.): President Obama is proposing that the recommendations passed down by the advisory panel on Medicare payment policy take effect without congressional action.
To identify and achieve additional savings, I am also open to your ideas about giving special consideration to the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), a commission created by a Republican Congress. Under this approach, MedPAC’s recommendations on cost reductions would be adopted unless opposed by a joint resolution of the Congress. This is similar to a process that has been used effectively by a commission charged with closing military bases, and could be a valuable tool to help achieve health care reform in a fiscally responsible way.
The significance here could be enormous. MedPAC’s 17 members are appointed by the U.S. Comptroller General to serve three-year terms. They represent doctors, hospitals and other medical industries, but also patients, elderly groups consumer advocates and health policy researchers. Importantly, they aren’t elected and therefore their positions wouldn’t be reliant on financial backing from the same industries they’re charged with regulating.
Waiting for Congress’ reply…