The MedPAC Blog

  • Improving Medicare's payment policies for Advanced Practice Registered Nurses and Physician Assistants

    by MedPAC Staff | Feb 15, 2019
    The Commission recommends Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNs) and Physician Assistants (PAs) bill Medicare directly, eliminating “incident to” billing for their services.
    Full post
  • The Hospital Value Incentive Program: Measuring and rewarding meaningful hospital quality

    by MedPAC Staff | Jan 30, 2019
    In January 2019, the Commission recommended the Congress replace the four current hospital quality payment programs with a single alternative program—the Hospital Value Incentive Program (HVIP). The HVIP encourages the delivery of better-quality hospital care for beneficiaries, catalyzes change in the delivery system, considers differences in providers’ patient populations, and reduces provider burden.
    Full post
  • The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program has succeeded for beneficiaries and the Medicare program

    by MedPAC Staff | Jun 15, 2018
    The Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) contributed to declines in readmissions but has not caused material increases in outpatient observation stays or emergency department visits, nor has the HRRP had a net adverse effect on mortality.
    Full post
  • Geographic Variation in Medicare Spending and Service Use

    by MedPAC Staff | Oct 02, 2017
    Today, MedPAC released a report on regional variation in both spending and service use under Medicare, updating a previous analysis from 2011. There is little evidence that higher service use results in higher quality. Moreover, it is likely that health care service use and spending could be substantially reduced without harming quality if service-use patterns of high-use areas were brought into line with those of lower-use areas.
    Full post
  • Why have Medicare costs grown so much slower than the costs of employer-sponsored insurance?

    by MedPAC Staff | Sep 11, 2017
    In Medicare, the prices paid to providers are set by law. In contrast, commercial insurers usually negotiate prices with providers. As we discuss below, prices negotiated by commercial insurers vary wildly across providers and insurers, and prices have grown faster for providers with more market power.
    Full post
  • Factors increasing Part D spending for catastrophic benefits

    by MedPAC Staff | Jun 08, 2017
    From 2010 to 2017, Medicare spending on the monthly prospective payments grew rather slowly, and average premiums for Medicare Part D enrollees remained between $30 and $31 per month. However, Medicare spending on reinsurance payments for enrollees with high drug costs grew on average more than 20% per year since 2010. In this blog post, we discuss several factors that have contributed to that high growth in recent years.
    Full post
  • Trends in Medigap Enrollment, 2010 to 2015

    by MedPAC Staff | Feb 13, 2017
    The number of beneficiaries with Medigap policies has been growing, both in absolute terms, and as a share of beneficiaries in fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare. At the same time, a greater share of those with Medigap have chosen Medigap policies that include some significant amount of beneficiary liability for cost sharing. This blog post examines these trends using annual Medigap policy sales data from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) covering the years 2010 to 2015.
    Full post
  • Meeting highlight: hospital consolidation and its implications for Medicare

    by MedPAC Staff | Nov 15, 2016
    At its November public meeting, the Commission held a session to discuss hospital consolidation and its implications for the Medicare program. The Commission has been tracking trends in provider consolidation, Medicare and private insurer payment rates, and provider costs for many years. In this post, we pull together a variety of analyses from MedPAC and others for a comprehensive backgrounder on hospital consolidation and Medicare.
    Full post
  • Data book highlight: Rates of low-value service use and spending in Medicare

    by MedPAC Staff | Aug 23, 2016
    On Friday, MedPAC released its July 2016 data book. The data book is an annual MedPAC publication filled with charts and tables presenting much of the information from our March report, plus more, in a convenient and accessible reference guide. In this post, we’re highlighting two charts (5-7 and 5-8) about low-value care that can be found in this year’s edition.
    Full post
  • MedPAC releases drug briefings

    by MedPAC Staff | Jun 16, 2016
    When the Commission began its deliberations on drug policy, which ultimately shaped the contents of the June report, it started with two informational presentations that were intended to provide background and context for its discussions. The Commission is now releasing annotated versions of these presentations to serve as a resource for policymakers.
    Full post

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