Something has to give, and it isn’t going to be the CBO’s numbers.
â€œThey are shaking people down, and itâ€™s fair to say that includes a broad range of health care stakeholders,â€ said a health care industry insider, who asked for anonymity to speak candidly without fear of retribution. â€œTheyâ€™re playing hardball, and theyâ€™re serious about it.â€
Industry representatives have offered cost-cutting measures, such as putting health records online and improving the management of chronic disease.
But theyâ€™ve been frustrated to discover that the Congressional Budget Office, whose estimates hold big sway, doesnâ€™t count them as hard-dollar savings.
My guess is that it’ll all come back to Medicare reimbursement rates. And that’ll affect insurance companies too…
A likely target for them is the Medicare Advantage program, which gets an average of 12 percent more funding than traditional Medicare. Some Democrats have wanted to cut the program for years, and Obama has proposed slashing it to help pay for reform.
Policymakers are also considering costly administrative changes, such as forcing insurers to standardize enrollment forms and create a single portal for doctors to use when dealing with the industryâ€™s many companies.
This much is clear…there will be blood.