Last week, President Trump signed an executive order titled, “Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for Our Nation’s Seniors.” Our Jordan Roberts analyzed the order’s provisions in his most recent research brief. Here is an abbreviated list of his comments:
- Section 4: Network Adequacy. The EO directs the secretary of HHS to propose an initiative that will improve network adequacy within Medicare Advantage plans by adjusting for the competitiveness of a given health care market and encouraging enhanced use of telehealth services.
- Section 5: Doctor-Patient Relationship. Many physicians find it difficult to spend enough time with each patient due to bureaucratic and administrative requirements. The EO also directs the secretary of HHS to propose ways to increase the amount of time patients spend with doctors for better care. Suggestions for how to do this include eliminating burdensome billing and licensing requirements and a comprehensive review of regulatory policies….
- Section 8: Empowering Patients. This section of the EO directs the secretary of HHS to propose rules to allow seniors to better access cost and claims data to instill more provider accountability and grant patients more power to make the right choices regarding where to get care…
- Section 11: Freedom in Medicare. Before this EO, if you wanted to start collecting your Social Security benefits, you would have to enroll in Medicare first. The federal government should not condition the collection of Social security benefits on participation in Medicare. Some seniors may prefer a private plan they are already on compared to Medicare. I signed an open letter to the administration last fall, asking for this change (Emphasis added).
We should applaud the administration for examining ways to ensure that the Medicare program runs more efficiently. It will be no small task to write effective new rules to encourage innovation, efficiency, and better care in Medicare. However, serious reform is needed to guarantee that Medicare, the highly popular health insurance program for senior citizens, can stay afloat. The effectiveness of each of these rules will depend on the exact language used. Once these rules are finalized, then we can better judge how effective they will be. Regardless, despite the health care industry’s resistance to change, our country needs to prepare for changes in Medicare soon.