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Kaiser Family Foundation Resources on Deficit-Reduction Debate

These Foundation resources shed light on how the ongoing national debate about deficit reduction may affect Medicare, Medicaid and other health-care programs. These resources include analysis of specific savings proposals, polling on the public’s views of deficit-reduction options, summaries and comparisons of relevant elements of major deficit-reduction plans, and explanatory…

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…

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.

Adding an Out-of-Pocket Spending Maximum to Medicare: Implementation Issues and Challenges

In an effort to simplify Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements, provide beneficiaries with catastrophic protection, and achieve program savings, some have proposed to restructure Medicare’s benefit design. Several recent proposals would create a unified deductible for Medicare Parts A and B, simplify cost-sharing requirements above the deductible, and add an annual limit on beneficiary out-of-pocket spending—a benefit feature typical of larger employer plans, but lacking in traditional Medicare. This issue brief describes the options for adding an out-of-pocket spending limit to Medicare and examines the operational issues that could arise in implementing both a uniform and an income-based out-of-pocket spending limit. Because the implementation of an income-related out-of-pocket maximum would pose somewhat greater complexity for Medicare, the operational issues associated with this approach are discussed in greater detail.