Bush Orders End to Medicare's Educational Efforts

In an effort to save money, the Bush administration has ordered Medicare contractors to halt educational activities that inform millions of beneficiaries of their rights under the program, according to an article in the New York Times.

The contractors, companies that review and pay Medicare claims for the government, said the cuts would make it more difficult for elderly people to obtain information and assistance. Beneficiary education has always been one of the contractors' most important duties. Administration officials said the contractors would still answer individual inquiries from beneficiaries, but that efforts to educate beneficiaries through newsletters and visits to centers for the elderly, health fairs, hospitals and other sites would end.

The order comes just as President Bush is poised to announce proposals for vast changes in Medicare which, if enacted, are likely to generate many questions and much confusion. The main proposal would give modest prescription drug coverage to beneficiaries who enroll in a new managed care program.

For the full article in the New York Times, click on: www.nytimes.com/2003/01/25/national/25MEDI.html (Free registration required, and article may be only temporarily available.)

To read an article in the Washington Post on the Bush proposals to transform Medicare, click here. (Article may be only temporarily available.)