Medicare covers nearly 44 million beneficiaries who are elderly, including 37 million seniors and 7 million younger adults with permanent disabilities, and end stage renal disease. The program cost the federal government approximately $375 billion in 2006, accounting for 13 percent of federal spending.
Why is Medicare important for congressional staffers to know about? Whom does it serve and what services does it cover? How is it financed? What drives Medicare’s costs? What are Medicare Advantage plans? What costs does Medicare pay for and what is picked up by beneficiaries? What are Medicare Parts A, B, C and D? What is the status of the new drug benefit? How do these programs pay providers and hospitals?
To help address these and other basic questions about Medicare, the Alliance for Health Reform and the Kaiser Family Foundation sponsored an April 20th luncheon briefing “Medicare for the Uninitiated.” Panelists inculded: Tricia Neuman, a vice president and director of the Foundation’s Medicare Policy Project; Tom Ault, Health Policy Alternatives; and Cynthia Tudor, the director of the Medicare Drug Benefit Group within the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid. Ed Howard of the Alliance and Diane Rowland of the Kaiser Family Foundation moderated.
Full Transcript (Adobe Acrobat PDF)