ACHP endorses letter in Health Affairs that advocates Medicare leadership in paying for performance

Washington, D.C. – The Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) strongly supports the Open Letter in the current issue of Health Affairs that advocates Medicare leadership in providing payment incentives for performance. The letter is authored by leading health industry executives and policy experts, including a number of former administrators of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

“ACHP’s highest policy priority is to encourage incentives for quality,” noted Jack Ebeler, president and CEO of ACHP. “Variations in quality and outcomes have been exhaustively documented. The time has come for public and private payors to begin to systematically pay health care plans and providers more for applying proven best practices and achieving better outcomes.”

“The Medicare reform bill now under consideration is a golden opportunity to proceed. For example, both the House and Senate versions of that legislation provide for a study by the Institute of Medicine to develop recommendations in this area, and this letter reinforces the importance of that study remaining in the final conference agreement.”

In addition, ACHP, along with a coalition of employer groups, consumer groups, and quality assurance organizations urged the Medicare conferees on November 10 to include language in the final legislation retaining authority for CMS to set standards and collect the type of data from health plans that would be necessary both for consumer information and to implement any such performance incentives.

“As this issue comes to the forefront, we commend the early leadership of Rep. Jennifer Dunn (R-WA) and Sen. Norman Coleman (R-MN), who have already introduced legislation advancing Medicare payment incentives for quality (H.R. 2033; S. 1257). The Medicare Payment Assessment Commission in its June report also presented a comprehensive review of this issue and recommended that Medicare proceed with payment incentives.”