MEDICARE HMOs: Public And Private Sector Must Work Together Towards Reform
"The Medicare+Choice program promised too much" and is "underfunded and in need of reform," Ken McEldowney argues in a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed. McEldowney, executive director of Consumer Action, a consumer advocacy organization, writes that the public sector must work together with HMOs to compensate for the astronomical rises in health care costs. The major problems with the program today, he writes, are low reimbursement rates -- which have not kept up with the rising costs -- and bureaucratic micromanagement from HCFA. McEldowney says, "If we are to make Medicare+Choice work, we need to work in concert with the health plans to find new ways to accurately predict costs and to agree on what is a fair rate of return for private-sector involvement." He also believes that a prescription drug benefit for Medicare is not feasible without price controls or substantial taxes. While many criticize Medicare HMOs, McEldowney argues that the Medicare+Choice program is worth saving. "If the Medicare+Choice program fails, [seniors] will be the big losers," he concludes (8/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.