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Medicare Managed Care: Medicare+Choice at Five Years

The U.S. Congress created the Medicare+Choice (M+C) program in 1997 through the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) to broaden opportunities for elderly Americans to enroll in managed care. The architects of the program hoped that expanded plan choice would increase efficiency and lower costs by sparking competition among plans. Currently, about 5.6 million people, or 14 percent of the nation's 40 million Medicare beneficiaries are covered under M+C. While the Administration and some key members of Congress remain committed to expanding private Medicare options, the program has experienced some instability from health plan withdrawals in recent years.

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Medicare Managed Care: Medicare+Choice at Five Years, Colleen L. Barry and Janet Kline, The Commonwealth Fund, April 2002