Washington, D.C. – The Bipartisan Policy Center (BPC) issued the following statement by Katherine Hayes, J.D., BPC’s Director of Health Policy, regarding the introduction of the bipartisan, bicameral Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014, which aims to enable Medicare providers to provide targeted, coordinated services for patients with multiple chronic health conditions.
“BPC commends U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) and U.S Representatives Erik Paulsen (R-MN) and Peter Welch (D-VT) for their bipartisan collaboration and introduction of the Better Care, Lower Cost Act of 2014.
“This important legislation takes a hard look at how best to deliver cost-effective, high quality, team-based care to chronically ill seniors who under today’s fragmented health care system often fall through the cracks.
“Similar to recommendations in BPC’s Health Care Cost Containment Initiative – led by former Senators Tom Daschle, Bill Frist, and Pete Domenici and former White House and Congressional Budget Director Alice Rivlin – this legislation would seek to improve patients’ engagement in their care through cost-sharing incentives for participation in the Better Care Program. Our leaders reached a similar conclusion that today’s attribution model and lack of beneficiary cost incentives in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) limit patient and provider tools to actively engage in seamless care coordination and achieve better health outcomes.
“Finally, BPC is pleased that this approach moves away from the volume-driven Medicare fee-for-service payment system to reign in cost growth.
“As this effort moves forward, we would encourage the bill sponsors to further explore how the Better Care Program will interact with other models and programs currently being tested in Medicare so as to avoid duplication and allow flexibility for successful models to spread nationwside.Furthermore, we look forward to learning more about the cost savings estimates of the legislation and hope that this model will help to bend the health care cost curve while providing quality coordinated care for patients.
“On behalf of BPC, I thank Senators Wyden and Isakson and Congressmen Paulsen and Welch and their staff, for their hard work, for soliciting and taking into account the input of health care providers, patients, and policy experts throughout the process, and for their thoughtful approach in this legislation to improve care and lower costs for millions of chronically ill seniors and the Medicare program.”