Government Accountability Office considers Medicare Advantage unsustainable
A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an investigative arm of the U.S. Congress, is calling for the end of the country’s Medicare Advantage initiative. The Advantage program provides expanded health care benefits to those participating. The report calls into question whether the program is financially sustainable for the country and suggests that current and future administrations should focus more on improving the benefits that are associated with the Affordable Care Act.
Advantage program draining country resources
The report notes that the Medicare Advantage program currently drains $523 billion annually from the government. The viability of the program often verges on the edge of uncertainty due to the federal government’s continuous struggle with debt and the country’s finances at large. Because the country’s financial situation is constantly changing, the sustainability of the Medicare Advantage program can falter, meaning that the 48 million consumers receiving benefits from the program could lose their coverage.
Obama administration defends Medicare
The Obama administration has released its own report concerning the Medicare program. The government’s report suggests that the program is expected to save approximately $200 billion between 2010 and 2016. The report also suggests that those receiving benefits through the program would enjoy $59 billion in savings in this same period. The administration believes that the program is a necessary part of the health industry and that it provides some consumers with a valuable alternative to private insurance companies.
GAO plans demonstration to improve Medicare Advantage
The GAO has designed a demonstration project that aims to improve the performance of Medicare Advantage plans. The demonstration has the support of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agency believes that the demonstration is vital to justify the existence of more than 550 plans that are part of the Advantage program. The demonstration project, which is scheduled to take place over the next three years and will develop incentives for Advantage plans to improve quality and offer better benefits to those that are receiving coverage through the program. If these plans cannot be improved, the GAO suggests that they should be ended entirely.