"An Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) established under the healthcare reform act will help to ensure the nation's future fiscal health, Office of Management and Budget Director Peter Orszag said Thursday," McKnight's Long Term Care News & Assisted Living
reports. "If set up correctly, the Medicare payment board will contribute to a reduction in national health costs and the federal deficit, Orszag said before the Economic Club of Washington last week, according to the Bureau of National Affairs. Under the reform law, the board will be empowered to make Medicare payment decisions beginning in 2014. Unlike the current Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the IPAB recommendations will automatically go into effect unless Congress blocks them" (4/12). The Hill
: Orszag also raised questions about estimates by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which is "the independent agency Orszag ran before he joined the Obama administration." That agency has predicted that the health care overhaul "will reduce deficits $143 billion in its first decade and by even more -- roughly 0.25 percent to 0.5 percent of gross domestic product -- in its second decade. That would probably amount to more than $1 trillion in savings, but Orszag considers that a lowball estimate. ... Orszag and Democrats in Congress have clashed with CBO before over its projections. Orszag questioned a CBO attempt last summer to project the budget impact of one key provision aimed at constraining health costs, a commission of doctors and experts that will propose cuts to wasteful Medicare spending. ... Reining in Medicare spending, the fastest growing entitlement, will be a key to reining in a $12.8 trillion federal debt, fiscal watchdogs have said" (Alarkon, 4/11).