tional, state, and local levels, with an emphasis on coordination and partnerships. Information and customer service techniques and protocols developed in the private sector should be used to guide this effort utilizing the best technologies available currently or projected to be available in the near term.
RECOMMENDATION 4. The federal government should require all Medicare choices to be marketed during the same open season to promote comparability and to enable beneficiaries to adequately assess and compare the benefits and prices of the various options.
RECOMMENDATION 5. The committee is concerned about the increasing restrictions on physicians (and the potential conflict of interest of physicians) when they act in their professional role as advocates for their patients and carry out their contractual responsibilities and receive economic incentives as health plan providers. The committee favors the abolition of payment incentives or other practices that may motivate providers to evade their ethical responsibility to provide complete information to their patients about their illness, treatment options, and plan coverages. So-called anticriticism clauses or gag rules should be prohibited as a condition of plan participation.
RECOMMENDATION 6. The federal government should hold Medicare choices accountable by requiring them to meet comparable conditions of participation as a Medicare option and by monitoring and reporting on their compliance with these conditions.
RECOMMENDATION 7. Serious consideration should be given and a study should be commissioned for establishing a new function along the lines of a Medicare Market Board, Commission, or Council to administer the Medicare choices process and hold all Medicare choices accountable. The proposed entity would include an advisory committee composed of key stakeholders, including purchasers, providers, and consumers.