Medicare, Medicaid, Medigap, and managerial confusion

Medical care programs of various types have now moved to the center of thedomestic economic stage. Retirees availing themselves of these medical benefitsare worried about the future cost, adequacy, and structure of these benefits. The1996 national elections obfuscated the real issues and have sown widespreadconfusion. Probably a bipartisan Congressional or differently structured ad hoccommission will be asked to make future recommendations on Medicare (a socialinsurance program) to the President. Medicaid (a public assistance program) willbe dramatically affected by the new welfare reform law and has unique problemsof its own. In both Medicare and Medicaid managed care approaches, particularlythe further spread of HMOs (health maintenance organizations), can be expected.Political leadership of a type not displayed much in recent Congresses will beneeded to allay the worries and mollify the economic security concerns of retireesand senior citizens.