Current and Future Challenges
GAO-01-878T, Jun 19, 2001
Medicare is a popular program that millions of Americans depend on for covering their essential health needs. However, the management of the program has fallen short of expectations because it has not always appropriately balanced or satisfied the needs of beneficiaries, providers, and taxpayers. For example, stakeholders expect that Medicare will price services prudently; that providers will be treated fairly and paid accurately; and that beneficiaries will clearly understand their program options and will receive services that meet quality standards. In addition, there are expectations that the agency will be prepared to implement restructuring or added benefits in the context of Medicare reform. Today's Medicare, although successful in some areas, may not be able to meet these expectations effectively without further congressional attention to its multiple missions, capacity, and flexibility. The program will also need to do its part by implementing a performance-based approach that articulates priorities, documents resource needs, and holds managers accountable for accomplishing program goals.