Attempts to Control Medicare Spending: A Sisyphean Task?

Attempts to Control Medicare Spending Via the Inpatient Prospective System and the Fee-for-Service Physician Reimbursement System

There is growing general concern regarding medicare's sustainability into the future, a concern warranted by the fact that the program is projected to become insolvent by 2024.

Various reform efforts have been attempted to control the cost of Medicare, only to see cost-growth problems return. The reforms resemble the fate of Sisyphus, a king in Greek mythology who was punished by the gods to roll a giant boulder up a hill only to watch it roll back down and to repeat this task with similar results for all eternity.

While a multitude of research studies could be conducted on Medicare expenditures, this paper focuses solely on those related to hospital and physician payments. Individually, these two forms of payment accounted for nearly 66 percent of all Medicare expenditures in 2009.

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