Medicare 101: What You Need to Know

February 11, 2013

A February 11 briefing, Medicare 101: What You Need to Know, was especially helpful to congressional staff members and others new to the issue, but it also was a useful review for anyone dealing with Medicare issues, particularly as pressure intensifies to slow the growth of program spending.

Medicare provides health care coverage to 50 million individuals ages 65 and over, and to younger people with permanent disabilities. The federal government currently devotes 15 percent of its budget to the program.

This Medicare 101 answered basic questions about the program.

What is Medicare and what is its role in the health care system? How has the program evolved over time? Who is eligible and what benefits does it cover? How is the program administered? How much does Medicare cost and how is it financed? How does it pay doctors and other health care providers and plans? How does the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act affect beneficiaries, plans and providers?

A short video produced by the Kaiser Family Foundation and a distinguished group of panelists offered insight into these and related issues.

Juliette Cubanski, associate director, Program on Medicare Policy at the Kaiser Family Foundation, will explain the structure of Medicare, who gets it, what benefits they receive and how it is financed.

Jonathan Blum, deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will highlight medical delivery system reforms and innovations and demonstrations that are now underway in Medicare to change the financial incentives for medical providers to improve care and reduce costs.

Sheila Burke, adjunct lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, and previously chief of staff to former Senate Republican Leader Bob Dole, will describe the many challenges to Medicare, including the cost to the federal government and the program’s payment structure.

Tricia Neuman of Kaiser and Ed Howard of the Alliance will co-moderate.

This forum took place Monday, February 11.

The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Contact: Marilyn Werber Serafini (202)789-2300

Transcript and Videos

Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Speaker Presentations

Sheila Burke Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Juliette Cubanski Presentation (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Details

Agenda (Adobe Acrobat PDF)
Speaker Biographies (Adobe Acrobat PDF)

Event Resources