MEDICARE: Year 2000 Problems Revealed In Memo
Yesterday's Washington Post reported that an "internal government memo" reveals that "Medicare officials are considering a delay in scheduled payment increases to physicians and hospitals if computer repairs for the Year 2000 glitch cannot be made on time." Republicans in Congress seized on the memo Friday, charging that it shows the Clinton administration is "undercutting last year's negotiations on Medicare spending." Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA), chair of the House Ways and Means health subcommittee, said: "I am very disappointed to hear of the administration's failure to implement Balanced Budget Act changes and its plan to delay payment updates for the doctors and hospitals who care for our seniors." In the internal memo, HCFA administrator Nancy-Ann Min DeParle said conducting Year 2000 repairs and implementing major changes to the Medicare program "could not be done at the same time" (Barr, 6/28).
From today's Wall Street Journal: "Take the sweeping changes in Medicare required by last year's balanced budget law. Add the vexing Year 2000 computer problems. The result: Medicare migraines. There is growing evidence that the Health Care Financing Administration ... is swamped by the massive political and bureaucratic challenges of the" 1997 Balanced Budget Act (McGinley, 6/29).