The Affordable Care Act and the Medicare Program: The Engines of True Health Reform
Posted: 8 Jun 2014 Last revised: 22 Jul 2014
Date Written: June 1, 2013
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and its amendments by the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act of 2010 constitute landmark legislation known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA has made many changes in the Medicare program as part of comprehensive health reform for the U.S. health care sector. Title III of the ACA pertains to improving the efficiency and quality of health care. Title VI calls for greater program integrity for all federally funded health insurance programs. Collectively, the changes in Medicare in these two titles address the three major problems that the Medicare program has faced since its inception: cost and volume inflation, quality assurance, and fraud and abuse. These changes, if successfully implemented, will have a dramatic impact on the reform of the American health care sector. The policy-making process in the Medicare program is exemplary of the process of “muddling through,” as described by the Yale economist Charles E. Lindblom. Nevertheless, these changes may also prepare the Medicare program to be transformed, through several incremental changes in upcoming years, into a single payer system.
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