Publications: Medicare

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Coverage and Use of Prescription Drugs in Nursing Homes: Implications for the Medicare Modernization Act

February 27, 2006 - Among the groups most likely to be helped by the new Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit are nursing home residents, a new Fund-supported study finds. One-fifth of residents lacked any drug coverage in 2001, and most of them have low incomes.

In the Literature

Demography Is Not Destiny, Revisited

March 16, 2005 - Much has been made about the aging of America and the impending demographic challenges of a growing elderly population. But according to a new Commonwealth Fund report, planning for the future on the basis of demographic projections alone is a "fool's game."

Fund Report

Designing a Medicare Drug Benefit: Whose Needs Will Be Met?

December 1, 2000 - Which Medicare beneficiaries need prescription drug coverage the most? Whose needs are greatest? The answers, of course, depend on how one defines "need." As this policy brief shows, if poverty income alone is used to determine need, only a minority of Medicare beneficiaries would qualify for prescription drug coverage.

Issue Brief

Developing a Center for Comparative Effectiveness Information

November 7, 2006 - Creating a center to compare the effectiveness of drug treatments and medical procedures could stem the rising tide of health care costs and help health plans, hospitals, and public health programs "spend smarter" on health care, a new Fund-supported study finds.

In the Literature

Developing a Viable Alternative to Medicare's Physician Payment Strategy

December 11, 2013 - This Commonnwealth Fund–supported study in Health Affairs looks at proposals to replace the way Medicare pays provider, as well as pilot programs that are experimenting with new ways to organize or pay physicians—like patient-centered medical homes, accountable care organizations, and bundled payment.

In Brief

Developing Innovative Payment Approaches: Finding the Path to High Performance

June 8, 2010 - The Commonwealth Fund Commission on a High Performance Health System offers payment innovations that the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation should introduce to reward more-integrated, high-value care.

Issue Brief

Do Minority Patients Use Lower Quality Hospitals?

December 19, 2011 - This Commonwealth Fund–supported study sought to test the hypothesis by investigating whether hospital quality is inversely associated with the proportion of minority patients served.

In Brief

Does Medication Adherence Lower Medicare Spending Among Beneficiaries with Diabetes?

March 31, 2011 - Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers used data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey to look at medication adherence rates and Medicare expenses over three years for beneficiaries who filled prescriptions for RAAS inhibitors and statins.

In 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.


Doughnut Holes and Price Controls

July 22, 2004 - By reducing prices of key drugs to levels comparable to those in other industrialized nations, the U.S. government could eliminate the current gap in Medicare prescription drug coverage, says a Commonwealth Fund–supported study posted July 21 on the Health Affairs Web site.

In the Literature

Drug Coverage and Drug Purchases by Medicare Beneficiaries with Hypertension

March 1, 2000 - This study finds that prescription drug coverage of Medicare beneficiaries is more fragile than previously reported, that continuity of this coverage makes a significant difference in beneficiaries' use of prescription medicine, and that health status affects drug coverage for beneficiaries primarily through their burden of chronic illness.

In the Literature

Drug Coverage for Medicare Beneficiaries: Why Protection May Be in Jeopardy

January 1, 2002 - Following a period of growth over the last decade, trends suggest that Medicare beneficiaries' access to affordable prescription drug benefits has begun to decline.

Issue Brief

Drug Therapy and Aging: Testimony Before the Full Committee of the House Committee on Ways and Means

April 1, 2003 - Bruce Stuart, Ph.D., testified that trends in coverage put future beneficiaries at risk of having significantly reduced options for meaningful prescription benefits if legislative action is not taken soon.


Durable Medical Equipment and Home Health Among the Largest Contributors to Area Variations in Use of Medicare Services

May 8, 2012 - The Commonwealth Fund-supported author of this Health Affairs article examined variations in beneficiaries' use of 13 health care services in 60 communities to investigate: discernible patterns; the extent of variation in service categories across sites; and which services vary to the extent that they account for disproportionate geographic variation in total use.

In the Literature

Dynamics in Drug Coverage of Medicare Beneficiaries: Finders, Losers, Switchers

March 1, 2001 - The authors of this study found that while drug coverage rates may have improved from 1995 to 1996, the number of beneficiaries finding, losing, and switching their drug coverage was almost as large as the number with stable benefits.

In the Literature