Savings Proposals Should Improve Efficiency and Eliminate Fraud but Must Maintain Quality and Choice
Even as we encourage these needed measures, AARP recognizes that rising costs in the broader health care system are putting pressure on the U.S. budget. These rising costs, along with expensive advances in technology and the aging of baby boomers, mean that reforms to Medicare will have to be considered.
Savings proposals should zero in on waste and fraud, and seek to increase efficiency, while maintaining quality and choice. The Affordable Care provides increased resources aimed at fraud prevention. Medicare must be preserved as a program of social insurance, serving all of society. Reforms must not reduce fundamental protections, saddle beneficiaries with out-of pocket costs they cannot afford, or unfairly squeeze the middle class.
Medicare Can Lead the Way
Medicare should lead the way in creating a better health care system, driving system-wide reforms
of service delivery to achieve both better effectiveness and better efficiency. It should use its vast purchasing power to spark innovation and best practices throughout the entire health care system. For example, Medicare should link doctors’ reimbursement to measures of quality. It should create incentives to reward preventive care and coordination among health care professionals.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicare will be testing projects that seek to enhance patients’ treatment through better coordination of care, improved teamwork among medical professionals and incentives to reduce unplanned hospital readmissions. As lessons are learned from these projects, we want to see them applied throughout the whole health care system.