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Proposed Changes to Medicare in the “Path to Prosperity”: Overview and Key Questions

This brief examines key Medicare provisions included in “The Path to Prosperity: Restoring America’s Promise,” a long-term budget proposal released by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan on April 5, 2011, which outlines a strategy for reducing federal spending and reducing the national debt over time. The Medicare provisions are among…

The Budget Control Act of 2011: Implications for Medicare

Beginning January 2013, Medicare spending will be subject to automatic, across-the-board reductions, known as “sequestration,” which is slated to reduce Medicare payments to plans and providers by up to 2 percent. This sequestration results from provisions in the Budget Control Act of 2011, which raised the debt ceiling and will…

Transforming Medicare into a Premium Support System: Implications for Beneficiary Premiums

This study illustrates why geography would matter for Medicare beneficiaries under a premium support system that relies on a competitive bidding process envisioned under several key Medicare reform proposals. It examines potential changes in the premiums paid by Medicare beneficiaries under a payment approach that caps federal contributions per beneficiary…

The Nuts and Bolts of Medicare Premium Support Proposals

In April 2011, as part of its 2012 budget resolution, the U.S. House included a proposal to reduce Medicare spending by transforming the program into a system sometimes called “premium support” or vouchers. Such an approach also has been a central element of other proposals by national leaders seeking to…

Raising Medicare Premiums for Higher-Income Beneficiaries: Assessing the Implications

As policymakers consider ways to slow the growth in Medicare spending as part of broader efforts to reduce the federal debt or offset the cost of other spending priorities, some have proposed to increase beneficiary contributions through higher Medicare premiums. This issue brief explains provisions of current law that impose income-related premiums under Medicare Part B and Part D, describes recent proposals to modify these requirements, and analyzes the potential implications for the Medicare population.

Medigap Reform: Setting the Context for Understanding Recent Proposals

This brief presents the most current data available on the Medicare supplemental insurance (Medigap) market, including enrollment and premiums by state and plan type, analyzes how many beneficiaries have first dollar coverage (particularly Plans C and F), and describes recent Medigap proposals that have emerged as part of efforts to reduce Medicare spending and the national debt.

Comparison of Medicare Premium Support Proposals

This brief provides a side-by-side comparison of recent proposals to transform Medicare into a premium support program and slow the future growth in Medicare spending. These proposals each would convert Medicare from a defined benefit program, in which beneficiaries are guaranteed coverage for a fixed set of benefits, to a…

Policy Options to Sustain Medicare for the Future

With Medicare expected to be a key part of Washington’s ongoing debate about solutions to reduce the federal budget and national debt, this report serves as a compendium of policy options that may be discussed in upcoming budget debates. The report presents a wide array of options in several areas and lays out the possible implications of these options for Medicare beneficiaries, health care providers, and others, as well as estimates of potential savings, when available.