“The Two Mysteries of Medicare,” by Austin Frakt

“A growing proportion of Medicare beneficiaries are opting out of the government-run insurance program. They are instead choosing a private plan alternative, one of the Medicare Advantage plans. The strength of this trend defies predictions from the Congressional Budget Office, and nobody can fully explain it.  Here’s another mystery. Traditional Medicare spending growth has slowed, bucking historical trends and expectations. Though there are theories, we don’t fully know what’s causing that either.  Pinning down explanations for these two mysteries is important. Doing so could help us understand the structure and cost of Medicare in the future.  …  If Medicare Advantage is responsible for slower traditional Medicare spending growth, should policy makers do more to encourage greater Medicare Advantage enrollment? One way to do so would be to coax more plans into the market by paying them more, which is controversial.”

LTC Comment (from Stephen A. Moses, President, Center for Long-Term Care Reform):
Medicare Advantage (somewhat private) beats traditional Medicare (mostly government), but calls abound to expand traditional Medicare to all Americans in order to salvage ObamaCare.  Go figure.

The Two Mysteries of Medicare

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