Harvard’s Chernew to Chair MedPAC

May 22, 2020
Chernew, whose research interests include Medicare Advantage and alternative payment models, served on MedPAC from 2008 to 2014

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) has appointed Michael Chernew, Ph.D., a professor of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston, as the new chair of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC).

Congress established MedPAC in 1997 to analyze access to care, cost and quality of care, and other key issues affecting Medicare. MedPAC advises Congress on payments to providers in Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service programs and to health plans participating in the Medicare Advantage program. The Comptroller General is responsible for naming new commission members.

MedPAC recently weighed in with some recommendations about how CMS should cope with the pandemic’s impact on its value-based care programs, including that CMS should skip shared savings for 2020. The National Association of ACOs (NAACOS) responded that MedPAC's recommendation to ignore shared savings in 2020 would devastate Medicare ACO programs. 

Chernew has conducted research on various topics, including Medicare Advantage and alternative payment models. He is a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research, the National Academy of Sciences, and the National Academy of Social Insurance. He served on MedPAC from 2008 to 2014, and for the final two of those years, served as Vice Chair.

Besides Chernew, two other newly appointed members are Betty Rambur, Ph.D., R.N., Routhier Endowed Chair for Practice and Professor of Nursing, College of Nursing at the University of Rhode Island in Kingston, R.I; and Wayne J. Riley, M.D., President and Professor of Internal Medicine and Health Policy and Management at the State University of New York Downstate Health Sciences University in Brooklyn, N.Y. Their terms will expire in April 2023.

 “MedPAC has proven to be an invaluable resource on Medicare issues, providing Congress with key insights and advice,” said Gene Dodaro, Comptroller General of the United States and head of the GAO in a statement. “We had a number of highly skilled applicants who were nominated this year, and it gives me great pleasure to announce this latest round of appointments.”

Two reappointed members, whose terms will also expire in April 2023, are David Grabowski, Ph.D., Professor, Department of Health Care Policy at Harvard Medical School in Boston; and Dana Gelb Safran, Sc.D., Head of Measurement at Haven and Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine at Tufts University in Boston. Those whose terms are expiring now are Chairman Francis J. Crosson, M.D., and members Kathy Buto and Warner Thomas.