MedPAC To Meet This Week

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) will be meeting in Washington, DC this Thursday, November 7th, and Friday, November 8th, to discuss Medicare policies and recommendations. The agenda for the November meeting is available here.

MedPAC did not hold their scheduled meeting in October due to the government shutdown.

MedPAC 101

As the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is meeting today (Thursday, September 12th) and tomorrow (Friday, September 13th), Capitol Health Record has prepared the following primer. Information on MedPAC’s public meeting this week is available here.

As part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, Congress established an independent 17-member Commission tasked with recommending to Congress changes in Medicare policies.  MedPAC is charged with determining Medicare’s payment adequacy for physicians, hospitals, and other providers as well as determining whether Medicare beneficiaries have adequate access to Medicare services.

Does MedPAC have the force of law?  MedPAC’s recommendations are not law.  Congress must adopt MedPAC’s recommendations in order for them to be fully implemented.  However, MedPAC’s recommendations are often influential among policymakers as they develop new legislative proposals.

How does one become a MedPAC Commissioner?  The Government Accountability Office (GAO) annually publishes a notice inviting individuals to become a MedPAC Commissioner.  GAO’s announcement is generally published in January and nominations are generally due in mid-March of each year.  New Commissioners are generally announced in late May or early June each year.

Where can I find more information about MedPAC’s recommendations?  Each year MedPAC publishes at least two reports.  MedPAC’s March report contains recommendations on payment changes on a range of issues.  In June MedPAC publishes a report providing analysis on other policy issues and additional information on other recommendations.  (More information on MedPAC’s March 2013 report is available here and information on its June 2013 report is available here.)  In addition, MedPAC generally submits comments on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’) proposed rules implementing Medicare payment policies.  All of MedPAC’s reports and comment letters are available on its website (

Does MedPAC provide recommendations on all health care issues?  No.  MedPAC is limited to providing recommendations regarding the Medicare program.  MedPAC can, and does, make recommendations to address issues arising with so-called “dual eligibles” (e.g., individuals who are eligible for both the Medicare and Medicaid programs).  However, MedPAC generally does not provide recommendations solely related to other payers or services (like the Medicaid program or employer-sponsored health care).

How does MedPAC differ from the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB)?  MedPAC makes recommendations to improve the Medicare program.  IPAB, if convened, would be limited to making recommendations to limit the per capita rate of growth in Medicare spending.  In other words, MedPAC can make recommendations to add policies and services to Medicare (regardless of whether these new policies result in additional federal spending).  IPAB can only make recommendations to cut Medicare spending.

Health Care on the Hill: Week of September 9, 2013

This week Congress returns to Washington, DC following their August recess and are jumping right back into legislative matters. Listed below are a few health-related hearings scheduled for this week.

Each Monday Capitol Health Record will be providing health-related highlights for the coming week.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

10:15 a.m.
PPACA Pulse Check: Part Two
House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health Hearing
2322 Rayburn House Office Building

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2:00 p.m.
The Threat to Americans’ Personal Information: A Look into the Security and Reliability of the Health Exchange Data Hub
House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity, Infrastructure Protection, and Security Technologies Hearing
311 Cannon House Office Building

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10:00 a.m.
Dental Crisis in America: The Need to Address Cost
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee on Primary Health and Aging Hearing
430 Dirksen Senate Office Building

Thursday, September 12, 2013 and Friday, September 13, 2013

In addition to the above Congressional hearings, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) will be meeting in Washington, DC on Thursday and Friday to discuss recommendations regarding Medicare payment policies. MedPAC will meet at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW) from 9:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. on Thursday and 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. on Friday (agenda).


Drinker Biddle Alert on June MedPAC Report

Anna Howard, Drinker Biddle Lobbying and Advocacy Team Medicare Reimbursement and Health Policy Director, collaborated with Drinker Biddle Associate Jeanna Palmer Gunville and Partner Jennifer Breuer on a Health Care Insights article on “MedPAC Highlights Multiple Policy Options to Address Payment Differences Across Ambulatory Settings.” The client alert examines the payment recommendations made by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s (MedPAC’s) in their June 2013 report to Congress.