By Richard Asinof
WASHINGTON – A new report on health care delivery system reform is described as an “exercise in congressional oversight, tracking and evaluating the implementation of the delivery system reform provisions” of the health care law.
The 50-page report - titled: “Health Care Delivery System Reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” - was released Thursday, prepared by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse for the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
The timing of the release, the day after the U.S. Supreme Court concluded three days of hearings on the constitutionality of the new law, was termed “coincidence” by Whitehouse spokesman Seth Larson.
The report outlines the progress that the Obama administration has made in implementing the health care reform law, outlining 45 of the law’s delivery system reforms and finding that some 25 provisions and been fully implemented.
The report encourages the Obama administration to set a cost-savings target for health care delivery system reform.
“If the President’s Council of Economic Advisers’ $700 billion savings estimate is correct, since Medicare amounts to 20 percent of America’s health care spending, we could save $42 billion a year in Medicare cost if we only achieved 30 percent of the potential,” the report said. “Over a 10-year budget period, that’s $420 billion in Medicare savings – all without taking away any benefits.”
“While much of the public debate on health care reform has focused on flash points like the ‘individual mandate,’ the delivery system reform provisions in the bill have not been the subject of much public discussion – largely because they have broad support,” Larson said.
With a Supreme Court ruling expected in June, Whitehouse believes the focus in the next few months should be on implementing demonstration programs and pilot projects initiated by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.
“Innovation Challenge grants will be awarded soon,” Larson said. “These grants will encourage state and local health care stakeholders to develop innovative ways to change the delivery of care. Rhode Island health care stakeholders submitted several applications.”
To view the report, click HERE