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Reforming Medicare

Reforming Medicare
Henry J. Aaron & Jeanne M. Lambrew
Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution Press, 208
RA412.3 .A27 2008

Medicare is a critical element of the American health system, covering most of the health care spending for more than forty million senior citizens and people with disabilities. The program has been popular, but its benefits are limited and it does little to enhance the quality of care received. And it is now growing faster than America's ability to pay for it. How can and should the system be improved? Reforming Medicare offers a clear guide to the debate over Medicare reform - a national discussion that must not be delayed.

Health policy experts Henry Aaron and Jeanne Lambrew provide a critical examination of the current program as well as the key proposals for reforming it. They evaluate Medicare's success and then explore how the major reform proposals - social insurance, premium support, and consumer-driven models - would affect the system in terms of ensuring access, promoting quality of care, and controlling costs. In clearly illustrating how each strategy would work for a typical beneficiary, the authors reveal the strengths and weaknesses of each approach.

Aaron and Lambrew also consider the formidable political and practical issues surrounding Medicare reform, thus firmly grounding their analysis in the real world of politics and policy. Given the heat generated by debates over health policy, ideology, and change, it is unlikely that any single approach will be implemented in full. Thus the authors examine elements of each plan, providing essential insight into the types of hybrid policies that Congress will likely consider in the coming years.

Quoted from dustjacket.