Andy Slavitt: 4 considerations for the next administration

While CMS and Medicare have made progress in achieving quality and cost improvements since the passage of the ACA, there is still work to do, CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a speech Thursday at a Washington, D.C., summit for the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act.

"The question that needs to be addressed head on is how Medicare will continue to control costs in the face of a demographic boom as over 10,000 Americans enter Medicare each day, rising demand for healthcare's new cures and technologies; and an epidemic of chronic disease," Mr. Slavitt said, according to prepared remarks published on the CMS blog.

Mr. Slavitt gave four suggestions to the next administration on how to approach the challenges ahead.

1. Build on the progress made in securing coverage. More than 20 million Americans gained health insurance under the ACA and 3.5 percent more people now have a personal physician, according to Mr. Slavitt. "If we lose even some of the coverage gains made under the ACA, or leave people in limbo, people will lose access to regular care and we will drive up long-term costs," Mr. Slavitt said. "This doesn't mean we shouldn't improve how coverage works in a bipartisan fashion."

2. Change more than the funding structure to modernize Medicare. The next administration must also focus on innovation and care improvements for Medicare, he said, while voicing his support CMS' Innovation Center, which was created by the ACA. "I'll say this bluntly: MACRA can't work as well without a CMS Innovation Center that can move quickly to develop and expand new approaches to paying for care," Mr. Slavitt said. "With changes to the Innovation Center, the advanced alternative payment approaches could slow significantly."

3. Demand technology that enhances care delivery. More work is needed to move away from burdensome paperwork and reporting requirements. "The technology community must be held accountable by their customers and make room for new innovators and to give clinicians more freedom and more flexibility to focus on their patients, to practice medicine, and deliver better care," Mr. Slavitt said.

4. Healthcare reform is a journey. "Don't forget that people are the heart of every policy made," Mr. Slavitt said. No matter the party in charge, the agency is working for the best possible care for its beneficiaries.

 

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