Because of Medicare's huge scale, the prices it pays for procedures often shape what others pay for similar care, economist are finding. In the meantime, the program continues to look for ways to prevent inappropriate prescribing by its doctors.
The Washington Post: Medicare Pricing Drives Health-Care Costs
Medicare may be best known for paying the medical bills for millions of people 65 and older, but recent studies show it plays another gargantuan role in American health care: It helps determine prices for everyone. For virtually every procedure and service -- from routine colonoscopies to brain surgery and hospice care -- Medicare comes up with a dollar figure that the government considers a fair price. But economists are finding that, largely because of the program's vast scale, Medicare prices substantially shape what all Americans pay for health care (Whoriskey and Keating, 12/31/13).
ProPublica: Medicare Moves To Tighten Oversight Of Prescribers
Ten years after Medicare’s vaunted prescription drug program was signed into law, the Obama administration and Congress are re-evaluating whether it does enough to stop inappropriate prescribing and fraud by physicians (12/31/13).