Despite Democrats’ Warnings, Private Medicare Plans Find Success

Robert Pear
The New York Times
8/25/2012

Even as President Obama accuses Mitt Romney and Representative Paul D. Ryan of trying to privatize and “voucherize” Medicare, his administration crows about the success of private health plans in delivering prescription drug benefits and other services to Medicare beneficiaries.

More than a quarter of the 50 million beneficiaries receive coverage through private Medicare Advantage plans, mostly health maintenance organizations, and Medicare’s drug benefits are delivered exclusively by private insurers, subsidized by the government.

Obama administration officials, lawmakers from both parties and beneficiaries have generally been satisfied with the private plans…

… The Romney-Ryan proposal would preserve traditional Medicare as an option. Enrollment in private Medicare Advantage plans, which has risen by nearly 60 percent in the past five years, could grow even faster if they prove more efficient than the government-run program.

Private insurers, competing for business in the Medicare market, have pioneered some innovations in care intended to keep people out of the hospital. Whether such competition holds down costs is less clear…

Read the complete article at The New York Times.

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