Medicare cannot survive through the second decade of the next century without major reforms, according to government projections. Growth in the number of Medicare enrollees and the costs of their medical care will outpace the number of workers and their tax contributions to the fund. Yet public-opinion polls indicate that Medicare is not a leading concern for most people. And Medicare reform receives slight attention from politicians and the press.
We ignore the need for Medicare reform at our own peril, say the contributors to Medicare in the Twenty-first Century. These leading health economics experts make various recommendations for saving the popular Medicare program and grapple with finding a solution that is realistic, fair, and efficient. In doing so, they include the history and background analysis of issues and consider the stakes of those with competing interests: the young and the old, the healthy and the sick, taxpayers and beneficiaries, patients and providers.
The authors warn that, the longer we put off Medicare reform, the more costly it will be. Medicare in the Twenty-first Century provides a good foundation for taking pragmatic steps to save the program--before it's too late. Authors include Joseph Antos and Linda Bilheimer, Congressional Budget Office; Bryan Dowd and Roger Feldman, University of Minnesota; Walton Francis, consulting economist and analyst; H. E. Frech III, University of California-Santa Barbara; Len M. Nichols, Urban Institute; Mark V. Pauly, University of Pennsylvania; and Andrew J. Rettenmaier and Thomas R. Saving, Texas A&M University.
Editor Robert B. Helms is a resident scholar at AEI.