The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) held sessions about the effects of the coronavirus public health emergency (PHE) related to Medicare payment policy and adequacy during its recent meeting, the first of MedPAC’s 2021–2022 cycle. MedPAC is a non-partisan, independent legislative branch commission created to advise Congress about Medicare-related issues.
MedPAC staff discussed the short-term impacts of COVID-19 on Medicare spending and its long-term impacts on the solvency of the Medicare trust fund. Staff noted that while individuals ages 65 and up have accounted for 14% of COVID-19 cases, they have made up 80% of COVID-19 deaths. Additionally, data shows that Medicare spending is expected to double in the next 10 years, and that the Medicare trust fund is projected to become insolvent in 2026. This is the same projection that MedPAC made in 2020.
Staff also discussed considerations to make when utilizing 2020 data to inform payment updates for 2023, as well as the potential need for targeted temporary policies. Staff explained that the PHE has affected provider capacity, supplies, volume, and costs, and caused a change in acuity and mix of patients.
The next MedPAC meeting will be held Oct. 7–8. More information about MedPAC is on the commission’s website.
If you have questions or would like more information about Medicare payment, contact Christina Berry, ACR Senior Economic Policy Analyst.