We gathered an impressive panel of senior advocates and health policy experts on Capitol Hill this week to discuss current efforts to reform our national health care system and a growing consensus that Medicare should play a role in that debate.     The National Committee and the Alliance for Retired Americans co-sponsored this panel discussion, focusing on a number of issues including; Medicare Advantage overpayments, cost containment proposals, out-of-pocket costs, Low Income and Part D improvements.  The briefing began with the National Committee's latest video "Medicare = Health Care Reform".  

Dr. Brian Biles, Professor at George Washington University's School of Public Health and Health Services, detailed a variety of strategies to trim or eliminate an estimated $150 billion dollars in Medicare Advantage overpayments going to private insurers over the next decade.  He also provided an important historical reminder of how these subsidies were created in the first place. 

Marilyn Moon is the Vice-President and Director of the Health Program at the American Institutes for Research.  She detailed a number of Medicare improvements she'd like to see included in any health care reform package. The Center for Medicare Advocacy knows first hand the impact skyrocketing out-of-pocket costs has on beneficiaries.  Vicki Gottlich is the Center's Senior Policy Attorney and she described the critical need for limits on out-of-pocket costs in Medicare.   As the nation's largest purchaser of health services, it is inevitable that policymakers will look to Medicare - both as a model and as a tool for system wide health care reform.  Reforming health care is vital to our nation's long-term economic health and today's panelists say improving Medicare is critical to that health care reform effort.  Video clips and power point slides from this panel discussion along with relevant position papers are also available on our website.