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Don't shift payments by Medicare, panel says

The New York Times, July 25, 2013

WASHINGTON — Adjusting Medicare payments to reward doctors and hospitals in regions that provide high-quality care at low cost would be a bad idea, the National Academy of Sciences said Wednesday. After a three-year study, the academy's Institute of Medicine rebuffed arguments by members of Congress from states like Minnesota and Iowa who say Medicare has shortchanged their health care providers for decades. Congress should not create a "value index" to funnel Medicare money to areas that provide high-quality services at relatively low cost, the academy said. The 19-member panel said such an index would be unfair because it would "reward inefficient providers in low-cost regions and punish more efficient providers in high-cost regions."