HCFA: Stark Opposes Seven-Member Board Proposal
In a "tongue-in-cheek" letter to HCFA chief Nancy-Ann DeParle, Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) last week announced his opposition to the Breaux-Frist legislation that aims to replace DeParle with a seven-member board. The bill, a product of the National Bipartisan Commission on the Future of Medicare, and sponsored by Sens. John Breaux (D-La.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), proposes that each board member receive a salary nearly $20,000 more than DeParle's current rate of $122,400. "You should immediately ask -- heck, demand -- a $866,700 pay increase," Stark urged DeParle in the letter. Stark chided, "You are doing the job of seven people! And under [this] premium support bill, Congress would replace your $122,400 salary with $989,100," adding that "if we increased [your] pay $866,699, we'd still be a buck ahead." Stark also wrote that the bill would use higher premiums on Medicare beneficiaries to "force seniors into managed care plans," thereby creating "the largest HMO in the country" (CongressDaily, 1/18).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.