On February 15. HHS transmitted to Congress a legislative package designed to address a Medicare funding warning that was triggered when the Medicare trustees estimated for two consecutive years that more than 45 percent of total Medicare spending will be derived from general revenues within the current or following six years. The main components of the package (which are designed to be adopted in addition to the President’s FY 2009 budget proposal) are as follows:
- Title I would authorize the HHS Secretary to introduce principles of value-based health care in the Medicare program by increasing provider efficiency and encouraging beneficiaries to be wise health-care consumers. This could include: improved health information technology; transparency of quality and pricing information; and incentives for providers to deliver, and beneficiaries to choose, high-quality, low-cost health care. The Secretary also would be required to base a portion of Medicare payments for some providers on quality and efficiency, beginning first with settings with existing, well-accepted measures.
- Title II would implement the President’s medical liability reform agenda.
- Title III would provide for income-relating the Part D premium.