Political Pressure and Other Factors Influenced Medicare Amendments in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997

    • March 16, 2003

From 1998 to 2000, Dr. David Smith, a professor (emeritus) at Swarthmore College, conducted a study of the Medicare amendments contained in the Balanced Budget Act of 1997. His main objective was to describe the policy process leading to the passage of these amendments and the early stages of their implementation.

A second objective was to describe ways in which Medicare policy was affected by related political and policy developments, including changes in Medicaid policy, the debate over a "patients' bill of rights," and attempts to broaden access to care for the uninsured.

Key Findings

  • Smith concluded that the Medicare amendments resulted in few substantive changes to the basic entitlement program.