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.