Medicare Plan, the U.S. healthcare program for the elderly, has expenses of more than $8 billion on a quality-improvement project for private health coverage that chiefly rewards plan with ordinary performances, according to a U.S. government watchdog.
A report by the Government Accountability Office, or GAO, a nonpartisan investigative arm of Congress, suggests canceling the Medicare Advantage quality bonus payment project in preference for quality improvements approved by President Barack Obama’s healthcare law.
The administration released its own report envisaging that the entire Medicare program would save more than $200 billion through 2016 due to the effects of Obama’s 2010 law, known as the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Beneficiaries in traditional Medicare would enjoy $59.4 billion in lower costs.
The GAO report calls into question Medicare’s ability to better care delivery, lessen costs and combat waste at a time when the $523 billion-a-year program and 48 million Medicare beneficiaries tackle an unsure future due to worries in Congress about the escalating federal debt and deficit.
Medicare Advantage, also known as Medicare Part C, allows beneficiaries to receive coverage from private insurers. But the program’s higher costs have been an issue since a long time. Some of the largest providers of Medicare Advantage plans include UnitedHealth Group and Humana Inc.
The project, designed to endorse quality by awarding performance bonuses to private insurers that offer coverage through Medicare, was embarked on to test whether annual quality improvements could be attained faster than under Obama’s healthcare overhaul.
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