Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., a veteran health reformer, has introduced legislation that would take the "advisory" out of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, commonly known as MedPAC, the Washington Post reports. Rockefeller's bill would give the commission the power to set Medicare reimbursement rates without bringing its suggestions back to Congress, insulating those decisions from the politics of Capitol Hill.
"We must take Congress out of its current role," Rockefeller told the Post. "It is inefficient and ineffective; we are not health-care experts and being a deliberative body means that we cannot keep pace with the rapidly transforming health-care marketplace."
"Rockefeller, who serves as the chairman of the Finance Committee's subcommittee on health, suggests modeling MedPAC after the Federal Reserve Board with expanded authority to test new payment models for doctors and hospitals," according to the Post. (Connolly, 5/26).