Medicare Shift Toward H.M.O.'s Is Planned

The New York Times
June 5, 2001
by Robert Pear

"A top federal official said today that the Bush administration would try to double the enrollment of Medicare beneficiaries in health maintenance organizations within four years."

Thomas A. Scully, newly appointed administrator of the Health Care Financing Administration:

"The government is better in the long run when it's a buyer of insurance, rather than an insurer."

Comment: Unfortunately, this is not a mere rhetorical statement. It is a blatant lie, and Mr. Scully knows that. Although not without its problems, the HCFA has been much more efficient than the HMOs in the administration of health care coverage. GAO studies have confirmed this. What the HCFA needs now is leadership that will work with Congress to obtain legislative relief and adequate funding to further improve the efficiencies of the HCFA. The task of making the HCFA more user friendly for patients and health care providers alike would not be that great under a dedicated administrative-legislative partnership. Instead, Mr. Scully is intending to use our Medicare dollars to support his friends in the managed care industry, patients and providers be damned.