Permanent reform of the Medicare physician payment system—to provide payment stability and a shift to person-centered payment models that reward value and not volume of healthcare services—is urgently needed. Following a more favorable score from the Congressional Budget Office and new Congressional proposals, there is now a window of opportunity to finally abolish the current mechanism of paying for physician services in Medicare that has caused uncertainty and threatened access to care for over a decade. Although Congress could take advantage of the favorable environment for reform, difficult policy challenges remain, including how to develop alternative payment models to replace the current fee-for-service system; how to incentivize providers to transition into new payment models; and the role of fee-for-service as payment reform progresses.
On November 19, 2013 the Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings discussed the current state of Medicare physician payment reform and the options moving forward. The conference included Rep. Michael Burgess, vice chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, as well as House and Senate staff members from the committees of jurisdiction from both sides of the aisle, as well as stakeholders.
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