What is the difference between Pawlenty and Obama on Medicare? 

The New York Times reported yesterday:

For the first time in its history, Medicare will soon track spending on millions of individual beneficiaries, reward hospitals that hold down costs and penalize those whose patients prove most expensive.

A major goal of the new health care law, often overlooked, is to improve “the quality and efficiency of health care” by linking payments to the performance of health care providers. The new Medicare initiative, known as value-based purchasing, will redistribute money among more than 3,100 hospitals.

Meanwhile, the AP reported on Monday from Iowa:

Republican presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty told people during a Monday stop in Iowa that the key difference between his Medicare proposal and the proposal introduced by Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wiscosnin, is that his plan will change the way providers are paid.

The former Minnesota governor spoke to a group of about 60 people during a campaign stop at Point of Grace Church in Waukee. He said his plan would include “performance pay.”

“We will begin to move providers from getting paid not just for the volume of procedures they crank out, but whether people are actually getting healthier and getting better,” Pawlenty told The Des Moines Register.

What is the difference between the “linking payments to the performance of health care providers” of Obamacare and Pawlenty’s “performance pay” plan?

The Examiner contacted the Pawlenty campaign yesterday for a clarification but has not received a response. Pawlenty has promised a more thorough Medicare plan in the coming months. It better have more cost containment ideas than those already in Obamacare.

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Conn Carroll

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