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Congressional Staff

Shawn Bishop, health policy advisor to the Senate Finance Committee, discussed issues that Congress is likely to address in Medicare legislation before the end of the 2007 session. While acknowledging that she does not see a "clear path" to enactment of a Medicare bill, she said that Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, is focusing on several priorities: a Medicare physician payment "fix," adjustments in Medicare Advantage payments, improvements in the marketing of private plans, beneficiary information that provides better comparisons of Medicare Advantage and FFS coverage, Part D provisions addressing the prompt payment of pharmacists and the asset test for low-income subsidies, and comparative effectiveness research. Bishop said the Senate will not take a "slash and burn" approach to cutting Medicare Advantage payments. Rather than take the House approach of linking Medicare Advantage payments to FFS costs in every county nationwide, she said the Senate will look for "creative ways" to adjust rates.

 

 

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