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)


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Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Future of Medicare Advantage 

The Heritage Foundation sponsored an event yesterday called “The Future of Medicare Advantage,” at which I was invited to make some remarks (video and slides below).

Medicare Advantage allows beneficiaries to get their health coverage through private insurance options, such as HMOs orPPOs, rather than through the traditional, government-administered fee-for-service program. It has grown rapidly in recent years -- about one-in-five Medicare beneficiaries are now enrolled in a Medicare Advantage plan.

But the program has many critics in Congress, especially among those who do not want to build Medicare reform on a model of competition and consumer choice.

My presentation focused on presenting important data relevant to the debate. For instance, few in Congress understand that there is an important spillover effect in markets with large percentages of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in HMO-based coverage. In those markets, even fee-for-service costs are lower. According to a careful study of eight years worth of data, for every 1 percentage point increase the proportion of Medicare beneficiaries enrolled in an HMO in a market, there is a 0.9 percent decrease in annual spending for beneficiaries who have stayed in the traditional fee-for-service program.

You can watch video of the event below, courtesy of the Heritage Foundation. (You can also just get the audio here in MP3 format.) And the slides I used during my presentation are available in PDF here or in PowerPoint format here.

posted by James C. Capretta | 4:11 pm
File As: Health Care