While many changes were made to the Medicare program as part of the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the system still faces financing troubles, and reform of the program has become one of the nation’s central domestic issues. This report covers the recent changes in Medicare, evaluating how they affect all parties: Medicare beneficiaries and their families, taxpayers, and health care providers and purchasers. Arguing that policymakers ought to focus on what a well-designed Medicare program should look like rather than dwelling on Medicare’s potential financing troubles, the report puts forth principles that should be the basis of any reform of the Medicare system.
The task force, which includes policy analysts, physicians, and representatives from business, labor, and health care plans, was cochaired by Shoshanna Sofaer of Baruch College and Richard Ravitch, a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital and The Century Foundation. The report also includes a background paper on premium support, written by Lisa Potetz of the March of Dimes, and one on supplemental and employer-sponsored insurance, written by Thomas Rice of UCLA.