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Medicare: Making It a Force for Innovation and Efficiency

An aging population, the addition of a prescription drug benefit, and federal budget deficits require policymakers to continue to explore ways to improve Medicare. Because Medicare is such a large share of health care spending, initiatives to improve its efficiency and the quality of care it funds will potentially influence the health care system as a whole. Current strategies to improve the quality of care and efficiency of the program focus on getting beneficiaries to migrate to betterperforming providers, or intervening more directly to encourage the system to provide higher quality, more efficient care. Some strategies try to increase information sharing overall, some focus primarily on providers or beneficiaries, while others target specific diseases.

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Medicare: Making It a Force for Innovation and Efficiency, Jessica Mittler, The Commonwealth Fund, July 2005