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U.S. General Accounting Office to be in the range of 10 percent of Medicare health care costs, are a significant problem in the Medicare program, they were outside the mandate of the present study.
The committee focused much of its work on learning from model programs and major purchasers in the private sector, with the full realization that Medicare as a government social insurance program requires, in many important respects, a different response. The committee also heard considerable testimony from public purchasers including state-based organizations and HCFA.
In defining parameters and vehicles to promote public accountability and informed purchasing, the committee recognizes the importance of maintaining the necessary flexibility in order to respond in a timely, appropriate fashion to a dynamic and evolving marketplace.
The committee's major charge and responsibility was to provide direction and guidance on how to promote public accountability and informed purchasing by and on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries in a new market-oriented environment characterized by choice and managed care. The committee was cognizant that in the new health care marketplace, Medicare beneficiaries as consumers or customers will be given both greater freedom and more responsibility for choosing their health plans and for making many of the important decisions associated with purchasing their health care and judging its value, adequacy, and responsiveness. Given the breadth and scope of its charge, the committee recognizes that many of the issues and topics that it addressed will benefit from additional review and analysis as better data and research findings become available.
It should also be noted that the committee was carefully formulated to reflect a balance of expertise particularly relevant to its charge. It included two experts from health plans, two individuals from the world of large purchasers-one public and one private, two consumer advocates with special expertise in elderly consumers in the health care marketplace, an expert on state insurance laws and regulations, a geriatrician, and an economist who has written extensively on the issue of opening choice and the structure of choice under market conditions.