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How health care can help shrink the deficit

A new report from the Congressional Budget Office lists ways the country can reduce the federal deficit over the next decade, and the CBO wonks tossed around a bunch of health care proposals.

By the numbers: I broke down some of the biggest health care ideas, along with how much money they’d potentially save the government from 2019–2028.

  • $154 billion: Requiring pharmaceutical companies to pay larger rebates for people who have both Medicare and Medicaid.
  • $116 billion: Restricting coverage for Medigap plans while establishing an out-of-pocket maximum in traditional Medicare.
  • $94 billion: Slashing bonuses to Medicare Advantage plans by eliminating ways for insurers to game the quality star-rating system.
  • $67 billion: Cutting payments to MA plans by limiting how insurers can code and diagnose their members (for example, outlawing the use of home visits to diagnose someone).

And in case you were wondering: Block grants still would gut state Medicaid programs, and raising the Medicare age from 65 to 67 still has almost no effect on reducing the deficit, but would raise health care costs for 65- and 66-year-olds.

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