Publications: Medicare

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How Health Reform Legislation Will Affect Medicare Beneficiaries

March 17, 2010 - This issue brief examines the provisions in the pending legislation and how each one would work to improve benefits, extend the fiscal solvency of the Medicare Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, reduce pressure on the federal budget, and contribute to moving the health care system toward better access to care.

Issue Brief

Medicare Savings Programs: Analyzing Options for Expanding Eligibility

February 25, 2010 - Medicare savings programs are designed to provide financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries whose income and assets are too high to allow them to qualify for full Medicaid coverage. This article examines policy changes that would expand eligibility by either relaxing resource requirements or increasing the income limit.

In the Literature

Medicare Advantage Reforms: Comparing House and Senate Bills

December 21, 2009 - This Commonwealth Fund issue brief compares approaches to reducing Medicare Advantage payments and other provisions in the House and Senate bills that aim to improve the value that Medicare obtains for the dollars it spends.

Issue Brief

Relationship of Primary Care Physicians’ Patient Caseload with Measurement of Quality and Cost Performance

December 15, 2009 - This study, supported by The Commonwealth Fund and the National Institute on Aging, shows that the vast majority of primary care physicians work in practices that see too few Medicare patients annually to produce statistically reliable performance assessments and that Medicare's current method of measuring ambulatory care quality may not be effective for most primary care physicians.

In the Literature

Representative Pete Stark's "Medicare Early Access Act of 2005"

December 10, 2009 -


Medicare Buy-In for Older Adults: Commonwealth Fund Resources

December 10, 2009 - Commonwealth Fund publications, journal articles, testimony, and survey research on a topic now being discussed in Congress: allowing older adults to buy in to Medicare.


How Can Medicare Lead Delivery System Reform?

November 13, 2009 - In this Commonwealth Fund issue brief, experts argue that the health care system as a whole would do well to emulate top-performing providers that embrace accountability for health care quality, outcomes, and cost.

Issue Brief

Don't Take Medicare for Granted: Commentary on the Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey

November 2, 2009 - In a commentary on The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey, Bruce Vladeck writes that Washington finds itself caught up in the fog of hysteria, misinformation, anxiety and downright dishonesty that so often afflicts Medicare politics.


Health Care Opinion Leaders Views on Medicare Reform

November 2, 2009 - In the latest Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders survey, experts in health care and health policy say they favor strengthening Medicare's ability to help control program costs and support broader health system reform.

Data Brief

Slow Spending, Improve Quality in Medicare: Commentary on the Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey

November 2, 2009 - With so much attention being given to healthcare reform, Gail Wilensky writes in this commentary on The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey findings, it's essential to remember the importance of reforming Medicare as well.


Medicare Spending for Previously Uninsured Adults

October 5, 2009 - A new Commonwealth Fund-supported study from researchers at Harvard Medical School demonstrates that expanding health coverage might not cost as much as policymakers assume. Mainly due to untreated chronic conditions like hypertension and diabetes, individuals who were uninsured before becoming eligible for Medicare at 65 had significantly higher spending than did those with coverage prior to Medicare enrollment.

In the Literature

Paying Medicare Advantage by Competitive Bidding: How Much Competition Is There?

August 12, 2009 - Private health plans that enroll Medicare beneficiaries—known as Medicare Advantage (MA) plans—are being paid $11 billion more in 2009 than it would cost to cover these beneficiaries in regular fee-for-service Medicare. The Obama Administration has proposed eliminating these extra payments to private insurers and instituting a competitive bidding system. This study questions the degree to which firms offering MA plans actually face competition.

Issue Brief

Health Insurance and Health Care Access Before and After SSDI Entry

May 20, 2009 - This report creates profiles of those with Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) during the three years before and after SSDI entry to illustrate changes in insurance status, health care access, and utilization.

Fund Report

The Long Wait: The Impact of Delaying Medicare Coverage for People with Disabilities

May 20, 2009 - At a particularly difficult point in their lives, disabled individuals must wait two years before they are eligible to begin receiving Medicare benefits--a delay that can block access to needed care and relief from financial pressures.

Perspectives on Health Reform Brief

Meeting Enrollees' Needs: How Do Medicare and Employer Coverage Stack Up?

May 12, 2009 - In a national Commonwealth Fund survey, elderly Medicare beneficiaries reported greater overall satisfaction with their health coverage, better access to care, and fewer problems paying medical bills than people covered by employer-sponsored plans.

In the Literature