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Journal of Economic Perspectives: Vol. 14 No. 2 (Spring 2000)

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Walking the Tightrope on Medicare Reform

Article Citation

Cutler, David M. 2000. "Walking the Tightrope on Medicare Reform." Journal of Economic Perspectives, 14(2): 45-56.

DOI: 10.1257/jep.14.2.45

Abstract

A central controversy in the debate about Medicare is whether the program spends too much money or whether instead it should be expanded to cover more. I consider the value of increased Medicare spending. I argue that on average Medicare spending is worth it: the health gains brought by medicare have been greater than their cost. At the margin, however, services are overused and have low value. Medicare reforms need to promote the high average value of care while eliminating care of low value. Many of the proposed reforms fall short of this goal.

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Authors

Cutler, David M. (Harvard U and NBER)

JEL Classifications

I18: Health: Government Policy; Regulation; Public Health

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