Medicare: New Spending Estimates Underscore Need for Reform

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Although the short-term outlook of Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund improved in the last year, Medicare's long-term prospects have worsened. The Medicare Trustee's latest projections, released in March, use more realistic assumptions about health care spending in the years ahead. These latest projections call into question the program's long-term financial health. The Congressional Budget Office also increased its long-term estimates of Medicare spending. The slowdown in Medicare spending growth in recent years appears to have ended. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2001, Medicare spending was ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. July 25, 2001.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "Although the short-term outlook of Medicare's hospital insurance trust fund improved in the last year, Medicare's long-term prospects have worsened. The Medicare Trustee's latest projections, released in March, use more realistic assumptions about health care spending in the years ahead. These latest projections call into question the program's long-term financial health. The Congressional Budget Office also increased its long-term estimates of Medicare spending. The slowdown in Medicare spending growth in recent years appears to have ended. In the first eight months of fiscal year 2001, Medicare spending was 7.5 percent higher than a year earlier. This testimony discusses several fundamental challenges to Medicare reform. Without meaningful entitlement reform, GAO's long-term budget simulations show that an aging population and rising health care spending will eventually drive the country back into deficit and debt. The addition of a prescription drug benefits would boost spending projections even further. Properly structured reform to promote competition among health plans could make Medicare beneficiaries more cost conscious. The continued importance of traditional Medicare underscores the need to base adjustments to provider payments on hard evidence rather than on anecdotal information. Similarly, reforms in the management of the Medicare program should ensure that adequate resources accompany increased expectations about performance and accountability. Ultimately, broader health care reforms will be needed to balance health care spending with other societal priorities."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • July 25, 2001

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Medicare: New Spending Estimates Underscore Need for Reform, text, July 25, 2001; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289491/: accessed April 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.