Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR) and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) unveiled a joint bipartisan health options report, “Guaranteed Choices to Strengthen Medicare and Health Security for All,” as part of the duo’s effort to produce a bipartisan compromise on Medicare reform.
Their proposal centers around introducing a premium support system, which beginning in 2022 would offer seniors the option of participating in Medicare or in a Medicare-approved private plan. The Medicare-approved private plan would be required to at least match the services offered under Medicare and would not be able to deny coverage or charge discriminatory rates based on pre-existing conditions. Seniors would then choose from Medicare or one of these private insurance plan options. Additionally, marketing materials for the private plans would require CMS approval.
The amount of premium support provided to seniors would be based on the cost of the second lowest plan in this market (private or Medicare). The plan would include additional benefits for low-income seniors while raising premium costs for higher-income seniors.
One noticeable aspect of the plan is a proposal to cap Medicare cost growth should other portions of the plan fail to slow the rate of health care cost increases. This cap would be one percent of Gross Domestic Product plus the rate of inflation. The plan explicitly states that “any increase over that cap will be reflected in reduced support for the sectors most responsible for cost growth, including providers, drug companies and means-tested premiums.”
Senator Wyden and Representative Ryan have indicated they will not consider offering this proposal as legislation until after the 2012 elections. ASA will continue to review the plan and update members on any new developments.
Read the proposed plan and additional details.
Read the fact-sheet on the Wyden-Ryan plan.