News: Medicare System Overhaul Proposed by Two Senators

Published: April 30, 2009
New York Times

WASHINGTON — Leading senators from both parties said Wednesday that they would make sweeping changes in Medicare to reward or penalize doctors, hospitals and nursing homes according to the quality of care they provided.

The proposals, the opening salvo in a broad effort to overhaul the health care system at the urging of President Obama, would also create strong financial incentives for doctors and hospitals to coordinate the care they now provide in a fragmented way.

The White House and Congressional Democrats have stacked the deck for Mr. Obama’s health plan by making sure it is filibuster-proof. Despite their objections to such expedited procedures, Republicans continue working with Democrats in the Senate Finance Committee.

On Wednesday, the chairman of the panel, Senator Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and the senior Republican, Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, unveiled a set of detailed recommendations intended to slow the growth of Medicare, hold doctors and hospitals more accountable, and improve the care of patients with chronic illnesses.

Mr. Baucus said the changes in Medicare could be an engine driving a “transformation of the health care delivery system.”

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