Continuing its exploration of reforms to improve the Medicare program, the Subcommittee on Health, chaired by Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA), today held a hearing on "A 21st Century Medicare: Bipartisan Proposals to Redesign the Program's Outdated Benefit Structure."
Witnesses from Harvard's School of Public Health, the American Enterprise Institute, and the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation provided testimony. The Medicare program is growing quickly and enrollment could reach over 63 million Americans by 2020 and 81 million by 2030. However, recent estimates forecast the program could be insolvent by as early as 2027.
"While the private insurance market has undergone significant changes in the last 50 years, Medicare's traditional benefit structure has remained fundamentally the same," said Pitts. "Seniors deserve an insurance product that reflects the current health care system, not that of the last century."
Today's hearing follows up on an April 11, 2013, hearing featuring Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) Chairman Glenn Hackbarth who discussed ways to modernize and improve Medicare's traditional benefit design.
In responding to Chairman Pitts' questioning this morning, the three witnesses agreed that the current fee-for-service Medicare benefit is overly complex and should be modernized to ensure seniors have a streamlined benefit that is easy to navigate with the protections they need from catastrophic health care costs and a program that is solvent for generations to come.