May 17,2024

Wyden and Crapo Release White Paper for Medicare Doctor Pay Reform

Finance Leaders Issue Policy Areas of Interest to Modernize Clinician Payment and Improve Chronic Care in Medicare Fee-For-Service

Washington, D.C. – Senate Finance Committee Chair Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Ranking Member Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, today released a white paper outlining policy concepts related to reforming the way physicians are paid by Medicare and meeting the needs of those with chronic illness.

“The way Medicare pays doctors for their work has not kept up with the times, and if it’s not working for doctors, it’s not working for the patients they help,” Wyden said. “Today marks an important step towards bringing Medicare into the 21st century, especially by acknowledging that the treatment and management of chronic conditions should be at the center of the program today. It’s critical that Traditional Medicare keep up, and this effort to update and strengthen the program for the next generation of Americans will make that a reality.” 

“The Finance Committee is committed to ensuring access to high-quality health care for the tens of millions of Americans currently enrolled in Medicare,” Crapo said. “This bipartisan white paper includes critical steps toward potential policy reforms to streamline clinician payment systems and treat the chronic diseases ailing far too many seniors across the country.  I look forward to continuing the collaborative, constructive, bipartisan precedent we have set in developing health care solutions for Americans from all walks of life.”

The white paper outlines a number of areas of interest that the committee sees as an opportunity for reform, including:

  • Creating sustainable payment updates to ensure clinicians can own and operate their practices;
  • Incentivizing alternative payment models that reward providing better care at a lower cost;
  • Rethinking how Medicare measures quality care;
  • Improving primary care;
  • Supporting chronic care benefits in Medicare fee-for-service; and
  • Ensuring continued access to telehealth.

Last month, the Finance Committee held a hearing to discuss how to approach updating the Medicare physician payment system, and how to ensure the treatment and management of chronic conditions is at the center of the Medicare program.

The white paper can be found here.