Medicare: Financial Outlook Poses Challenges for Sustaining Program and Adding Drug Coverage

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Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The lack of outpatient prescription drug coverage may leave Medicare's most vulnerable beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs. Recent estimates suggest that, at any given time, more than a third of Medicare beneficiaries lack prescription drug coverage. The rest have some coverage through various sources--most commonly employer-sponsored health plans. Recent evidence indicates that this coverage is beginning to erode. The short- and long-term cost pressures facing Medicare will require substantial financing and programmatic reforms to put future Medicare on a sustainable footing. In the absence of a drug benefit, ... continued below

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United States. General Accounting Office. April 17, 2002.

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Description

Testimony issued by the General Accounting Office with an abstract that begins "The lack of outpatient prescription drug coverage may leave Medicare's most vulnerable beneficiaries with high out-of-pocket costs. Recent estimates suggest that, at any given time, more than a third of Medicare beneficiaries lack prescription drug coverage. The rest have some coverage through various sources--most commonly employer-sponsored health plans. Recent evidence indicates that this coverage is beginning to erode. The short- and long-term cost pressures facing Medicare will require substantial financing and programmatic reforms to put future Medicare on a sustainable footing. In the absence of a drug benefit, many Medicare beneficiaries obtain coverage through health plans, public programs, and the Medigap insurance market. The price, availability, and level of such coverage varies widely, leaving substantial gaps and exposure to high out-of-pocket costs for thousands. Despite pressures to adopt a prescription drug benefit, the rapidly rising cost of current obligations argues for careful deliberation and extreme caution in expanding benefits. GAO's long-term simulations show that the aging of the baby boomers and rising per capita health care spending will, absent meaningful reform, lead to massive fiscal challenges in future years."

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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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  • April 17, 2002

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  • June 10, 2014, 6:42 a.m.

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United States. General Accounting Office. Medicare: Financial Outlook Poses Challenges for Sustaining Program and Adding Drug Coverage, text, April 17, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc289500/: accessed August 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.