• aspects of the leading issues and current policy proposals as they pertain to ensuring public accountability and informed purchasing in a system of broadened choice;
  • to guide, develop, and convene an invitational symposium to (1) examine what is known (or not known) about ensuring public accountability and informed purchasing in the current Medicare program and other health plans, (2) recommend how public accountability and informed purchasing can be ensured for Medicare beneficiaries in managed care and other health plan choices, and (3) discuss options and strategies that can be used to help government and the private sector achieve the desired goals in this arena; and
  • to produce a report that will include the commissioned background papers, a summary of the symposium discussion, and recommendations on the major issues that need to be addressed to ensure public accountability and the availability of information for informed purchasing by and on behalf of Medicare beneficiaries in managed care and other health care delivery options.

The study was initiated in the fall of 1995 with the expectation that Medicare legislation providing broader beneficiary choice would pass the U.S. Congress before the study was completed. The committee used the Medicare reform provisions of the Balanced Budget Act of 1995 (H.R. 2491) as a template for its work agenda. Although, President Clinton vetoed the final bill, the committee believes that the bill's Medicare reform provisions still provide a useful and relevant framework for reform.

In carrying out its charge, the committee recognized that the science-based and peer-reviewed literature on the major areas of the committee's scrutiny is sparse since the field is young and continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace. The state-of-the-art information in this arena resides primarily among a number of large private and public purchasers that currently define the field and various other organizations and agencies (i.e., the National Committee on Quality Assurance, HCFA, the Physician Payment Review Commission, the Foundation for Accountability, and the Agency for Health Care Policy and Research) that have a major interest in and programs directed to this area. With that in mind, the committee constructed a symposium

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