Medicare Advantage Plans At A Crossroads—Yet Again

Research Report

Medicare Advantage Plans At A Crossroads—Yet Again


Since risk-taking, private health insurance plans were introduced into Medicare twenty-five years ago, policymakers have disagreed on these plans' fundamental purposes. Articulated objectives, which include improving quality, reducing government spending, providing additional benefits (without expanding the entitlement), increasing choices for beneficiaries, and providing benchmark competition for traditional Medicare, are plausible but sometimes conflicting. The program's history demonstrates continuous shifts in emphasis on these objectives. We enumerate the differing advantages of public and private plans in Medicare and argue that policymakers should focus their efforts on leveling the public-private playing field, thereby dealing forthrightly with the reality of growing fiscal problems.

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