Commonwealth Fund Sees Medicare Savings From PCP Fee Increases

Today’s Managing Health Care Costs Indicator is 2%

The Commonwealth Fund  projects that Medicare investing through maintaining the Affordable Care Act’s 10% primary care physician increase beyond expiration in 2016, Medicare could save almost two percent of total costs.  In this simulation, primary care costs would go up by $89 per person per year (about equally distributed between increased unit costs and increased utilization), while total costs would decrease by $539 – a whopping 6:1 return on investment.

The authors posit that savings would come from hospitals and outpatient hospital facility fees and specialist care. Imaging and diagnostic costs increase in this simulation, which seems unlikely, as specialists seem as happy to order tests as primary care physicians. Outpatient medications and other Part B services also increase.

The authors make a powerful case to make more investments in primary care. The savings could presumably increase further if the primary method of payment was not fee for service.

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