“This is a fundamental problem we highlight in the annual report,” Charles Blahous, the Republican trustee, said about projected declines in provider reimbursement identified in the trustee’s May report.
Robert Reischauer, the Democratic trustee, told the committee that it is possible for “some differentials” to exist between Medicare and private insurance provider reimbursements “without destroying the market.”
Medicare provider reimbursements average about 80% of private insurer rates, according to some estimates, and those differences are expected to widen after the implementation of the federal health law’s provisions such as the cost-cutting Independent Payment Advisory Board.
Republicans decried the relatively low and declining reimbursements for reducing the number of providers willing to accept Medicare patients and thereby limiting its beneficiaries’ access to care.
Democrats countered that controlling the growth of healthcare costs in Medicare and other federal healthcare programs is not possible without provider cuts.
“Republicans say it’s bad to cut reimbursements even as they say we can’t afford what we’re paying them now,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) said.