McClellan Leaves CMS
Mark McClellan, who left his position as CMS administrator this weekend, said he believes his greatest accomplishment during his tenure was improving quality of care in Medicare, CQ HealthBeat reports (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 10/13). McClellan announced his resignation on Sept. 5, saying that he wants to spend more time with his family and that he probably will join a think tank or take a position in academia (California Healthline, 9/26).
In a meeting with reporters on Friday, McClellan said he feels that implementing quality of care measures was a greater accomplishment than his role overseeing the start of the Medicare prescription drug benefit, adding, "What's more important for the program is ... moving away from a focus on just paying bills." He said the goal of Medicare should be "better-coordinated, prevention-oriented, personalized care at a lower overall cost" (CQ HealthBeat, 10/13).
He added, "We have got to move in this kind of direction to have a sustainable, innovative, affordable health care system."
According to the Washington Post, McClellan is expected to announce on Monday that he will join a Washington think tank.
McClellan said the drug benefit is on track to cost about $30 billion this year, much less than the initial estimate of $43 billion. He said the projected 2007 cost of $48 billion likely will be revised downward as well. McClellan said the lower cost is the result of lower-than-expected premiums and enrollment and slowing growth in drug spending.
About 60% of prescriptions filled under the drug benefit were for generic drugs, less than the national average of 52%, McClellan said. He added that he is pleased that independent surveys found that about 80% of beneficiaries are satisfied with their Medicare drug plans (Lee, Washington Post, 10/14).