Making Medicare Sustainable

Source: Len Nichols, Robert A. Berenson, New America Foundation, Policy Paper, March 19, 2009

From the summary:
The ever-growing cost of health care is the largest threat to our nation’s long-term fiscal future. One way of tackling this problem is by using Medicare-the nation’s largest purchaser of health care-as a catalyst for widespread efficiencies in the private sector. Medicare must become a more value-based purchaser to make the Program sustainable over time and incent the private sector toward change. It is imperative that we act decisively and soon. Yet, we believe embarking on a Medicare-only reform effort would be far less productive than comprehensive delivery system reform. Medicare buys health care from the broader delivery system. Therefore, if we fail to address our system as a whole, we will have failed to solve the Medicare Program’s underlying problems. Delivery system reform must benefit all payers, patients, and providers who are willing to excel, but Medicare can and should lead the way.

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