Healthcare Business News

Ryan to push Medicare overhaul again in budget plan

By Jessica Zigmond
Posted: March 19, 2012 - 10:45 pm ET

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) says his fiscal 2013 budget proposal will include a premium-support model to reform Medicare—and will also include traditional fee-for-service Medicare as an option for the nation's seniors.

That model was introduced last December by Ryan and Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) as a way to give seniors a choice between private health plans and traditional Medicare. Ryan, who disclosed his plans in a Wall Street Journal guest column posted Monday night, also made clear that his budget does not make changes for those Americans in or near retirement.

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“We also introduce a competitive-bidding process to determine the growth of government's financial contribution to Medicare,” Ryan wrote. “Forcing health plans to compete against each other is the best way to achieve high-quality coverage the lowest cost, and implementing these reforms in Medicare can have the effect of lowering healthcare costs for everyone,” he continued. “This is the key to increasing access and affordability while preventing government debt from threatening the health security of seniors and the economic security of all Americans.”

The Wisconsin Republican also took a jab at President Barack Obama's plans for the Independent Payment Advisory Board that were cited in the president's fiscal 2013 budget proposal.

“With regard to Medicare, his latest budget calls for giving ‘additional tools' to the Independent Payment Advisory Board, an unaccountable board of 15 unelected bureaucrats empowered by the new healthcare law to cut Medicare in ways that will lead to denied care for seniors,” Ryan wrote. “Just this month, Democrats and Republicans alike voted for a measure to repeal this board.”

Ryan's reference is to a bill that passed in both the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees to repeal IPAB. The full House is scheduled to vote on the measure—which is included in a medical liability reform bill—later this week.

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