Ryan takes aim at HIX, Medicaid

March 13, 2013 in Medical Technology

Banking on repealing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan (R) on March 12 unveiled a plan targeting four major areas of reform.

Those include energy, healthcare, welfare and tax reform. On the second issue, healthcare, Ryan is specifically aiming to accomplish three things: giving states flexibility when it comes to Medicaid, and doing away with both Medicaid expansion and health insurance exchange subsidies altogether.

“Our budget repeals the president’s healthcare law and replaces it with patient-centered reforms,” Ryan, who also chairs the House Budget Committee, wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Tuesday.

[See also: Paul Ryan’s Congressional health IT timeline.]

In his proposal, The path to prosperity: A responsible, balanced budget, Ryan envisions that, as baby boomers retire, social welfare programs “will start to burst at the seams.” In the coming decade Social Security will grow 5.8 percent annually and Medicare 6.2 percent, while the overall economy expands at a slower 4.8 percent average.

“Medicaid — thanks in part to its expansion under the healthcare law — will grow at an astounding 9.9 percent,” Ryan’s budget plan explained. “Without reform, entitlement programs will overwhelm all other items in the federal budget. And the resulting national debt will overwhelm our economy.”

[See also: No IT trail, but Ryan carries big healthcare policy portfolio.]

In the section “Safety nets strengthened,” Ryan touches on the plan to give states more flexibility on Medicaid. “The budget resolution proposes to transform Medicaid from an open-ended entitlement into a block-granted program like State Children’s Health Insurance Program. These programs would be unified under the proposal and grown together for population growth and inflation.”

The second part of his healthcare plan calls for repealing PPACA’s Medicaid expansion and “removing the law’s burdensome programmatic mandates on state governments.”

On the matter of health insurance exchanges, the plan again aims to repeal a provision in PPACA: “Instead of putting health-care decisions into the hands of bureaucrats, Congress should pursue patient-centered healthcare reforms that actually bring down the cost of care by empowering consumers.”

Much the way Ryan maintained, as a vice presidential candidate, that his goal is to preserve the so-called entitlement programs rather than do away with them, he reiterated the point in his plan.

“I want Medicare to be there for my kids — just as it’s there for my mom today. But Medicare is going broke. Under our proposal, those in or near retirement will see no changes, and future beneficiaries will inherit a program they can count on,” Ryan wrote in the Journal. “Starting in 2024, we’ll offer eligible seniors a range of insurance plans from which they can choose — including traditional Medicare — and help them pay the premiums.

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Article source: http://www.healthcareitnews.com/news/ryan-takes-aim-hix-medicaid

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