About the Author

James C. Capretta

James C. Capretta

New Atlantis Contributing Editor James C. Capretta is an expert on health care and entitlement policy, with years of experience in both the executive and legislative branches of government. E-mail: jcapretta@aei.org.


James C. Capretta’s Latest New Atlantis Articles

 Health Care with a Conscience” (Fall 2008) 

 Health Care 2008: A Political Primer” (Spring 2008) 

 The Clipboard of the Future” (Winter 2008)


 More on James C. Capretta

Text Patterns - by Alan JacobsFuturisms - Critiquing the project to reengineer humanity

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Medicare Under Pressure: The 2009 Medicare Trustees' Report 

Last week, I had the pleasure of participating in a panel discussion on the latest Medicare Trustees' report at AEI. Rick Foster, the Chief Actuary for Medicare, presented the latest estimates, which were followed by comments from Mark McClellan, Joth Rother of AARP, myself, and former House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Thomas. I focused my remarks on the reasons efforts to "engineer" more efficiency from Washington are a real long-shot. It is no accident that Medicare looks and operates as it does today. Politicians can't pick between two hospitals or physician groups in their districts. They want the government insurance plan to pay all licensed providers the same fees, no matter the quality differences. Hence, Medicare's open network. And, of course, politicians want to insulate retirees as much as possible from any cost consequences of service use. Put it all together and it's a recipe for price controls and unconstrained volume—in other words, for what we see in Medicare today.

A video feed of the event is available here, audio here, and the slides I used for my presentation are here (in PDF format).

posted by James C. Capretta | 5:48 pm
File As: Health Care