What Can Medicare Teach Us About Health Care Reform?

What Can Medicare Teach Us About Health Care Reform?

Medicare is the United States’ first universal health care system for people 65 and older and some people younger than 65 with a disability. Dr. John R. Burton, Professor at Johns Hopkins University, recently wrote an interesting piece on lessons Medicare can offer us in terms of national health care reform.

Mr. Burton reflects that “Medicare eliminated the fragmented, episodic and often dehumanizing care that many retired seniors were forced to seek through emergency departments or charitable sources because they no longer had coverage from an employer.” Medicare’s implementation “increased the demand for primary care from physicians in private practice,” and as beneficiaries then had access to comprehensive primary care, ” overall health care quality went up, and average per-patient costs went down.”

Read Dr. Burton’s full article, “Medicare Offers Lessons on National Health Care Reform.”

See our section on Medicare Basics for information on the Medicare program.

Our blogger Karen J. Fletcher is CHA's publications consultant. She provides technical expertise, writing and research on Medicare, health disparities and other health care issues. With a Masters in Public Health from UC Berkeley, she serves in health advocacy as a trainer and consultant. See her current articles.