Ranking Member McDermott Opening Statement at Health Subcommittee Hearing on MACRA Implementation

May 11, 2016
Press Release

(Remarks as prepared)

Thank you, Mr. Chairman for holding this hearing.

And thank you, Acting Administrator Slavitt for coming in to speak with us this afternoon about CMS’s proposed MACRA rule.

I hope that this can be the beginning of a constructive, bipartisan conversation about how to advance our shared goal of controlling costs and improving the delivery of health care in this country.

Passing MACRA was a tremendous bipartisan accomplishment that put an end to a cycle of dysfunction.

For years, Congress lurched from crisis to crisis as we passed temporary fixes to avert draconian cuts under the flawed Sustainable Growth Rate formula.

We ended up spending more on these temporary delays than it would have cost to do away with the SGR all together.

But last year we put an end to that cycle once and for all by passing MACRA.

This was a tremendous step forward.

And MACRA is much more than just a simple repeal of the SGR. It is also the most significant payment reform the Medicare program has seen in decades.

Thanks to MACRA, we have set Medicare on a more sustainable course that will allow us to pay for value in health care, rather than volume.

The law modernizes and streamlines physician payment.

Instead of a patchwork of incentives and alternative payment models, it consolidates various programs into a single framework.

It also provides flexibility for providers that will allow them to practice medicine independently, while still holding them accountable for providing high-value care.

These are complicated issues, and we are still in the early stages of digesting the proposed rule.

But what we have seen so far has been encouraging.

The administration has worked diligently to implement the law as intended through a process that is responsive to the needs of the public.

The proposed rule is consistent with the goals of MACRA.

It provides flexibility to participate in either the Merit-Based Incentive Payments System or in Alternative Payment Models that reward high-value care.

This will make sure providers do not end up in a one-size-fits-all approach that doesn’t make sense for them or their patients.

It is the product of an open, transparent process that began months ago.

Through active outreach, consideration of extensive comments, and public workshops with stakeholders, the agency has heard from a range of viewpoints.

And the proposal reflects careful consideration of this input.

I am confident that the administration will continue to be responsive to the needs of the public as it develops the final rule.

This is an ongoing conversation.

We still have more to learn as we work toward our shared goal of making the implementation of this landmark law a success.

I look forward to collaborating with the administration and my colleagues as we continue this important work in the coming months.