Minn. delegation unites to seek Medicare reformby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's congressional members joined across party lines today to push for changes in the Medicare reimbursement formula.
In a letter to President Obama, the delegation argues that Medicare already underpays Minnesota providers based on the efficient care they provide, compared to other parts of the country.
"Our low-cost, high-quality state is setting the national standard for Medicare, yet we are penalized by the current geographic payment inequities in the Medicare reimbursement formula," the letter states.
All Americans pay equally into Medicare, but Minnesotans pay higher premiums for prescription drugs, dental, vision and hearing services, while residents of other states like Florida, New York and California don't pay any additional cost, the letter states.
The lawmakers are requesting that the complex formula be changed before Congress passes a health care reform bill.
"We need to bring down the cost of health care, and the only way you do that is to put a formula in place which rewards good outcomes and doesn't award inefficiency," DFL U.S. Rep. Betty McCollum said in an interview this afternoon on Minnesota Public Radio News.
McCollum said she will not support a public insurance plan that does not address the reimbursement concerns.
The bipartisan letter was signed by U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken, both Democrats; U.S. Reps. McCollum, James Oberstar, Collin Peterson, Tim Walz and Keith Ellison, Democrats; and Erik Paulsen, John Kline and Michele Bachmann, Republicans.
- All Things Considered, 07/22/2009, 5:53 p.m.