Fundamentals Briefing

Health Policy Essentials: Medicare and Health Care Spending
February 8, 2013


Kathryn Linehan & Sally Coberly, PhD


This briefing, the first in a series on the fundamentals of health care programs and policies, provided an overview of national spending on health care costs, the drivers of spending growth, and health care marketplace dynamics and their impact on costs. The session also provided an overview of the Medicare program including eligibility, the basics parts of Medicare (A,B,C,D), beneficiary cost sharing and supplemental coverage, Medicare payment policies and their influence on spending, the physician fee schedule, and the sustainable growth rate (SGR).


Martin Gaynor, PhD (bio)
E.J. Barone Professor of Economics and Health Policy
Carnegie Mellon University
Chair, Governing Board
Health Care Cost Institute
   Slides: "Health Care Spending in the United States. What? Who Cares? Why? What Do We Do About It?"

James Cosgrove, PhD (bio)
Director, Health Care
U.S. Government Accountability Office
   Slides: "Medicare Overview"

Lisa Potetz, MPP (bio)
Health Policy Alternatives, Inc.
   Slides: "Medicare Cost Sharing and Supplemental Coverage"

James Mathews, PhD (bio)
Deputy Director
Medicare Payment Advisory Commission
   Slides: "Medicare Payment Policies and Their Influence on Program Spending"

Jessica Farb, MA (bio)
Assistant Director, Health Care
U.S. Government Accountability Office
   Slides: "Medicare‚Äôs Physician Payment System and the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)"

Related Materials

In 2015, a new version of the Forum's Health Policy Essentials series was conducted; please see its briefing book here.

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