(a) Establishment There is hereby established the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (in this section referred to as the "Commission").
(b) Duties (1) Review of payment policies and annual reports The Commission shall -
(A) review payment policies under this subchapter, including the topics described in paragraph (2); (B) make recommendations to Congress concerning such payment policies; (C) by not later than March 1 of each year (beginning with
1998), submit a report to Congress containing the results of such reviews and its recommendations concerning such policies; and (D) by not later than June 15 of each year, submit a report to Congress containing an examination of issues affecting the medicare program, including the implications of changes in health care delivery in the United States and in the market for health care services on the medicare program and including a review of the estimate of the conversion factor submitted under section 1395w-4(d)(1)(E)(ii) of this title.
(2) Specific topics to be reviewed (A) Medicare+Choice program Specifically, the Commission shall review, with respect to the Medicare+Choice program under part C of this subchapter, the following:
(i) The methodology for making payment to plans under such program, including the making of differential payments and the distribution of differential updates among different payment areas.
(ii) The mechanisms used to adjust payments for risk and the need to adjust such mechanisms to take into account health status of beneficiaries.
(iii) The implications of risk selection both among Medicare+Choice organizations and between the Medicare+Choice option and the original medicare fee-for-service option.
(iv) The development and implementation of mechanisms to assure the quality of care for those enrolled with Medicare+Choice organizations.
(v) The impact of the Medicare+Choice program on access to care for medicare beneficiaries.
(vi) Other major issues in implementation and further development of the Medicare+Choice program.
(B) Original medicare fee-for-service system Specifically, the Commission shall review payment policies under parts A and B of this subchapter, including -
(i) the factors affecting expenditures for services in different sectors, including the process for updating hospital, skilled nursing facility, physician, and other fees, (ii) payment methodologies, and (iii) their relationship to access and quality of care for medicare beneficiaries.
(C) Interaction of medicare payment policies with health care delivery generally Specifically, the Commission shall review the effect of payment policies under this subchapter on the delivery of health care services other than under this subchapter and assess the implications of changes in health care delivery in the United States and in the general market for health care services on the medicare program.
(3) Comments on certain secretarial reports If the Secretary submits to Congress (or a committee of Congress) a report that is required by law and that relates to payment policies under this subchapter, the Secretary shall transmit a copy of the report to the Commission. The Commission shall review the report and, not later than 6 months after the date of submittal of the Secretary's report to Congress, shall submit to the appropriate committees of Congress written comments on such report. Such comments may include such recommendations as the Commission deems appropriate.
(4) Agenda and additional reviews The Commission shall consult periodically with the chairmen and ranking minority members of the appropriate committees of Congress regarding the Commission's agenda and progress towards achieving the agenda. The Commission may conduct additional reviews, and submit additional reports to the appropriate committees of Congress, from time to time on such topics relating to the program under this subchapter as may be requested by such chairmen and members and as the Commission deems appropriate.
(5) Availability of reports The Commission shall transmit to the Secretary a copy of each report submitted under this subsection and shall make such reports available to the public.
(6) Appropriate committees of Congress For purposes of this section, the term "appropriate committees of Congress" means the Committees on Ways and Means and Commerce of the House of Representatives and the Committee on Finance of the Senate.
(7) Voting and reporting requirements With respect to each recommendation contained in a report submitted under paragraph (1), each member of the Commission shall vote on the recommendation, and the Commission shall include, by member, the results of that vote in the report containing the recommendation.
(c) Membership (1) Number and appointment The Commission shall be composed of 17 members appointed by the Comptroller General.
(2) Qualifications (A) In general The membership of the Commission shall include individuals with national recognition for their expertise in health finance and economics, actuarial science, health facility management, health plans and integrated delivery systems, reimbursement of health facilities, allopathic and osteopathic physicians, and other providers of health services, and other related fields, who provide a mix of different professionals, broad geographic representation, and a balance between urban and rural representatives.
(B) Inclusion The membership of the Commission shall include (but not be limited to) physicians and other health professionals, employers, third-party payers, individuals skilled in the conduct and interpretation of biomedical, health services, and health economics research and expertise in outcomes and effectiveness research and technology assessment. Such membership shall also include representatives of consumers and the elderly.
(C) Majority nonproviders Individuals who are directly involved in the provision, or management of the delivery, of items and services covered under this subchapter shall not constitute a majority of the membership of the Commission.
(D) Ethical disclosure The Comptroller General shall establish a system for public disclosure by members of the Commission of financial and other potential conflicts of interest relating to such members.
(3) Terms (A) In general The terms of members of the Commission shall be for 3 years except that the Comptroller General shall designate staggered terms for the members first appointed.
(B) Vacancies Any member appointed to fill a vacancy occurring before the expiration of the term for which the member's predecessor was appointed shall be appointed only for the remainder of that term. A member may serve after the expiration of that member's term until a successor has taken office. A vacancy in the Commission shall be filled in the manner in which the original appointment was made.
(4) Compensation While serving on the business of the Commission (including traveltime), a member of the Commission shall be entitled to compensation at the per diem equivalent of the rate provided for level IV of the Executive Schedule under section 5315 of title 5; and while so serving away from home and the member's regular place of business, a member may be allowed travel expenses, as authorized by the Chairman of the Commission. Physicians serving as personnel of the Commission may be provided a physician comparability allowance by the Commission in the same manner as Government physicians may be provided such an allowance by an agency under section 5948 of title 5, and for such purpose subsection (i) of such section shall apply to the Commission in the same manner as it applies to the Tennessee Valley Authority.
For purposes of pay (other than pay of members of the Commission)
and employment benefits, rights, and privileges, all personnel of the Commission shall be treated as if they were employees of the United States Senate.
(5) Chairman; Vice Chairman The Comptroller General shall designate a member of the Commission, at the time of appointment of the member as Chairman and a member as Vice Chairman for that term of appointment, except that in the case of vacancy of the Chairmanship or Vice Chairmanship, the Comptroller General may designate another member for the remainder of that member's term.
(6) Meetings The Commission shall meet at the call of the Chairman.
(d) Director and staff; experts and consultants Subject to such review as the Comptroller General deems necessary to assure the efficient administration of the Commission, the Commission may -
(1) employ and fix the compensation of an Executive Director (subject to the approval of the Comptroller General) and such other personnel as may be necessary to carry out its duties (without regard to the provisions of title 5 governing appointments in the competitive service); (2) seek such assistance and support as may be required in the performance of its duties from appropriate Federal departments and agencies; (3) enter into contracts or make other arrangements, as may be necessary for the conduct of the work of the Commission (without regard to section 5 of title 41); (4) make advance, progress, and other payments which relate to the work of the Commission; (5) provide transportation and subsistence for persons serving without compensation; and (6) prescribe such rules and regulations as it deems necessary with respect to the internal organization and operation of the Commission.
(e) Powers (1) Obtaining official data The Commission may secure directly from any department or agency of the United States information necessary to enable it to carry out this section. Upon request of the Chairman, the head of that department or agency shall furnish that information to the Commission on an agreed upon schedule.
(2) Data collection In order to carry out its functions, the Commission shall -
(A) utilize existing information, both published and unpublished, where possible, collected and assessed either by its own staff or under other arrangements made in accordance with this section, (B) carry out, or award grants or contracts for, original research and experimentation, where existing information is inadequate, and (C) adopt procedures allowing any interested party to submit information for the Commission's use in making reports and recommendations.
(3) Access of GAO to information The Comptroller General shall have unrestricted access to all deliberations, records, and nonproprietary data of the Commission, immediately upon request.
(4) Periodic audit The Commission shall be subject to periodic audit by the Comptroller General.
(f) Authorization of appropriations (1) Request for appropriations The Commission shall submit requests for appropriations in the same manner as the Comptroller General submits requests for appropriations, but amounts appropriated for the Commission shall be separate from amounts appropriated for the Comptroller General.
(2) Authorization there are authorized to be appropriated such sums as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of this section. Sixty percent of such appropriation shall be payable from the Federal Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, and 40 percent of such appropriation shall be payable from the Federal Supplementary Medical Insurance Trust Fund.
(Amended Pub. L. 106-554, Sec. 1(a)(6) (title V, Sec. 544(a)(1), (b)), Dec. 21, 2000, 114 Stat. 2763, 2763A-551.)