New Analysis: Health Reform Would Be Big Plus for Medicare Beneficiaries

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<p>The health reform legislation now awaiting action in the House of Representatives contains several provisions that would strengthen the Medicare program for beneficiaries, according to a new analysis, <a href="/publications/issue-briefs/2010/mar/how-health-reform-legislation-will-affect-medicare-beneficiaries">How Health Reform Legislation Will Affect Medicare Beneficiaries</a>, just published by The Commonwealth Fund.</p>
<p>These provisions, say the Fund’s Stuart Guterman, Karen Davis, and Kristof Stremikis, would help reduce costs for prescription drugs, expand coverage for preventive care, provide more help for low-income beneficiaries, and support accessible, coordinated, and comprehensive care that effectively responds to patients' needs.</p>
<p>While some critics have characterized these changes as cuts to the Medicare program, the authors find that, in fact, "all beneficiaries would continue to be guaranteed all of Medicare's basic benefits, and those benefits would be improved with the expansion of coverage for preventive care and reduction in costs for prescription drugs."</p>
<p>What's more, the way hospitals and other health care providers are paid would be changed to focus more on the quality of care that patients receive. New initiatives aimed at improving the organization and delivery of care, meanwhile, promise to improve care coordination and effectiveness and slow cost growth—helping to sustain the fiscal solvency of the program while reducing beneficiaries' premiums.</p>