President Barack Obama has backed a measure that would give the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, or MedPAC, extraordinary power to affect how much the federal government pays providers.
Under a provision that could end up in a broader health reform bill, recommendations made by the nonpartisan MedPAC would go into effect unless otherwise opposed by a majority of congressional members. As is, MedPAC recommendations, while given gravity by many lawmakers, nevertheless are not binding without an act of Congress.
Obama, in a letter sent Tuesday to Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and his counterpart on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), said the measure could be a valuable tool to help achieve healthcare reform in a fiscally responsible way.