5 steps to bipartisan cuts in Medicare – and the deficit

Medicare is the single greatest contributor to long-term deficits. If Democrats and Republicans cooperate on waste-cutting ideas – many of which are backed by President Obama – both parties stand to gain. Here are five ways Congress should act.

3. Reduce poor-quality and duplicative care

The current fee-for-service health-care payment system encourages doctors to perform more tasks rather than overseeing a patient’s overall care from beginning to end. That has led to expensive, disjointed, and often mediocre service, as well as wide price variation to treat similar conditions. Bundling payments, by grouping a set of services over a given period into one payment, gives providers an incentive for efficiency and coordination that is absent in today’s fee-for-service model.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

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