by Chidem Kurdas
Cost savings from Medicare are claimed as one of the major sources of finance for the new medical entitlement program making its way through Congress, a claim that is astonishing in its brazen disregard of history.
President Obama talks about eliminating waste and inefficiency in Medicare, then turns around and reassures people there won’t be any Medicare cuts. The savings are to come entirely from making Medicare more efficient and paying only for quality service. This notion is not new. It’s been around a long time. Medicare, from its inception in 1965, has been a bottomless pit where money silently disappears into the coffers of the medical-industrial complex. There’s been attempts over the decades to control costs, using a variety of methods.
In the 1990s, when health management organizations slowed down the growth of private medical spending, Congress enacted a law to apply managed care to Medicare. “The program was authorized by the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with the intent of expanding health care options to Medicare beneficiaries by savings generated through what advocates assumed would be the efficiencies of managed care,” says a 2001 report.