When it comes to picking up the tab for health care, nobody writes bigger checks than Uncle Sam. Each year, federal health plans like Medicare, Medicaid and the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program spend 40 percent of all U.S. health care dollars. In order to better use the government’s enormous health care purchasing power to improve the overall quality and cost-efficiency of America’s health care system, President Bush signed an Executive Order on August 22 requiring all federally-sponsored health care programs to provide their members with more easily accessible and understandable information about cost and quality. The idea is to make this information more visible—or transparent—in order to help all Americans choose their doctors and hospitals based on how well the providers rate on quality and cost measures.
This audio program features current news and information from the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).