Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Efficient Healthcare Bureaucracy

A factoid from the head of the Civil Service Commission--whoops--the Office of Personnel Management:
To spotlight one example of our increased responsibilities: in 1980, just under 50 million people were enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, and the programs were administered by 4,900 federal workers. Today, the agency has 4,600 workers - 7% fewer, and guess how many people are in Medicare and Medicaid. Almost 81 million. They're serving 64% more enrollees with 7% fewer Federal workers.


George Buddy said...

Bill, who does all the computer work and check printing? Private contractors?

Bill Harshaw said...

I don't know. Given the context of the cite, one ought to be suspicious of the claim and, as you suggest, it's likely they've moved more of the administrative burden to the private sector, which is good, because we all know private bureaucracy is more efficient than public bureaucracy. :-)

Googling on Medicare bureaucracy pulls up criticism of the feds (HCFA/CMS). However some of the criticism was generated back in the debate over the Medicare drug benefit, including a projection of high costs. My impression is that, to give the devil his due, the Bush administration brought in the benefit at a cost well under the projections.