May 21, 2004

May 21, 2004 | WebMemo on Health Care

Bitter Pills #9: Rigged to Fail: Medicare's Doomed "Demonstration" Program

Part of the new Medicare law calls for a "demonstration program" in six metropolitan areas, allowing private health care plans to offer seniors health coverage under the auspices of the ailing Great Society program. The purpose of the test, to be started by 2010, is to see how well a competitive, market-based system can control soaring Medicare costs, especially after baby boomers begin retiring in 2011. Talk about bad timing.

But aside from bad timing, Congress has hobbled the test with so many restrictions and regulations, it's doomed to fail. Lawmakers have turned a promising approach for reform into "a pretext for killing a proposal or designing it to fail," Heritage Foundation health care expert Robert Moffit writes in
Fixing The New Medicare Law # 1: An Agenda for Change  (April 26, 2004).As if that's not enough, Moffit notes that several members of Congress have already said they will block the test from taking place in their districts and elsewhere.

This means the test is not only thing that's designed fail. Medicare will fail, too, unless steps are taken now to address the program's exploding costs. Read more of Moffit's paper here:
http://www.heritage.org/Research/HealthCare/bg1750.cfm

For more information or to receive an e-mail version of "Bitter Pills," contact chris.kennedy@heritage.org or call Heritage Media Services at (202) 675-1761.


"Bitter Pills" is an occasional, but regular, feature from The Heritage Foundation on how the 2003 Medicare drug law is full of sickening "surprises" that have serious consequences for seniors and taxpayers. Of course, The Heritage Foundation isn't surprised at all. We diagnosed the problems long ago in ourMedicare Maladies series. Both Medicare Maladies and Bitter Pills are available on heritage.org (if you can stomach them).

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